IN its first foray into the small band category of Panorama, the TT Defence Force surged ahead of the other 13 competitors to walk away with the title early this morning.
In its quest for steelband supremacy, the army chose a Duvonne Stewart arrangement of calypsonian Bally’s Maxi Dub from 1989 to dethrone last year’s winner Golden Hands.
Performing in position number eight, it was clear after the army men and women mounted the Skinner Park, San Fernando, stage, that the competition for the rest was between second and 14th place.
Players dressed in school uniforms fed off the energy of Stewart who made the sign of the cross and looked up to the heaven’s before the start of the tune and just before it ended.
Defending champions Golden Hands, with a composition, High (on the music) vocalised and arranged by Vanessa Alexander Headley, had to settle for third place. Six points separated the South band (280 points) from the Chaguaramas band (286 points).
Tobago band, T&TEC New East Side Dimension, a dark horse in the race, wedged itself between the two, earning 283 points with a Kersah Ramsey arrangement of Kees Dieffenthaller’s, Hello.
The competition was dedicated to cultural icons, Ken "Professor" Philmore, Winston "Shadow" Bailey and The Original De Fosto Himself, Winston Scarborough, who all died last year. Pan Trinbago president Beverly Ramsey-Moore also paid tribute to the late pan icon Steve Achaiba, who also passed, and to former executive member of Pan Trinbago’s South/Central zone, Whitfield Weekes for his contribution to the movement.
As the results were announced mere hours ago, Stewart who is also arranging for BP Renegades and Pan Elders in the large and medium categories respectively, was not around to savour the sweetness of the victory as members rushed to the stage, surrounding Ramsey-Moore who held the winning trophy.
Surrounded by jubilant members, manager of the band, Warrant Officer Sheldon Montique said it was a well-deserved win.
"It is the first time we entered the small band category. We were a single pan band from 1994. Last year we did not get into the finals and we made a move into the small band category."