AFTER being an all-female band for the last three years, Platinum Steel Orchestra has opened its doors to male pan players.
Band leader Lauren Pierre said, “It was difficult to get female players to come to the panyard at Upper Sixth Avenue Malick, Barataria, so we decided to forego the all-female idea.”
The new-look band opened the Eastern Region 2020 National Panorama Preliminary Single Pan competition on Thursday evening. Chairman of the Eastern Region Anthony Walker welcomed everyone before Dejohn Cain played the national anthem.
The band played a Brandon “Shoes” Johnson’s arrangement of Coleen Ella and Taxi’s 1987 song Johnny.
The second band of the evening was San Juan All Stars at 20 Second Street, San Juan.
Just before the band started playing, Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly joined the audience and heard Lord Kitchener’s Mystery Band, arranged by Renaldo De Peiza.
The next stop was Laventille Road, Febeau Village, San Juan, where judges Michele Dowrich, Damion Phillip, Jeanette Johnson and Kenrick J Noel proved themselves true lovers of the national instrument. Accommodations at the Laventille Road venue were not the best and the judges had to sit in the middle of the road, with vehicles passing mere inches from their backs. It took some doing before the traffic was stopped for the band to perform Preacher’s Jump and Wave, as arranged by Kyshon Frit.
Gadbsy-Dolly gave up her front-row seat to stand among her St Ann’s East constituents in the road.
Band number four was Pan Jammers of Sam Boucaud Road, Upper Santa Cruz, where the minister received a warm welcome. Led by Kenneth Morris, players performed a tight version of Robert Tobitt’s arrangement of Johnny King’s Ah Want It.
From Santa Cruz, the pan caravan headed back to San Juan in Petit Bourg, where reigning champions San Juan East Side Symphony eagerly awaited the judges' arrival.
The crowd at this band spilled onto the main road, where traffic slowly ground to a halt. Once the judges took their places, the champions performed Carlon Harewood’s arrangement of Kitchener’s Guitar Pan with the minister again seated in the front row.
The first leg of the Eastern Region’s competition earned very good interest among pan lovers and the followers of the bands which performed.
The competition continues tonight in Arima from 7 pm with the following bands:
Magic Notes Rebirth – Talparo Main Road, Brazil Village
Brazil RX 4 – Talparo Main Road, Brazil Village, Brazil
East Phonics – Eastern Main Road, Valencia (next to police station)
Pan Stereonetts – 2 Robinson Trace, Damarie Hill, Sangre Grande