C&B Crown Cordaans is hoping to make serious rumblings with Thunder for Panorama 2020 and win the small band category. Their 2019 selection, sang by Mighty Duke, is arranged by Trinidadian Koreece Graham, who is with the band for the second year.
Cordaans placed seventh at the 2019 Panorama small band finals but aren't remotely satisfied as yet.
They are currently practising for preliminary judging which gets under way in Tobago on December 18.
In an interview with Newsday Tobago on Sunday, Graham said Thunder was chosen to give the youthful members an appreciation of the history of local culture."Because of the age group of the players, last year I would have chosen a song they would know, which was Sweet Fuh Days by Patrice Roberts. There is a song (which says) through our songs our stories are told. Too often young persons don't know the songs of yesteryear.
"Additionally, Thunder allows (more expression) because we are going to a schematic style of arrangement, where people are painting a picture. It's no longer just about notes but the theme; how do you show the theme of the song in the music and presentation. It's a song that allows you to provide a visual in arranging."
What's their goal for the 2019/2020 Panorama season?
"To win. To surpass what we did last year, not just in placing but in the band's development, and raise the status within the pan fraternity. So when you hear C&B Cordaans it's not, 'Where this band come from?' but rather, 'It's nice to see them back again.'"
Graham, a respected music teacher in Trinidad, said he enjoys working with the young people in the band.
"The age group is between very early teens to very early twenties. And that is the age group where you could mould people. That is the age group that I think I work best with."
He said being a band less than 20 years in existence allows them to be flexible and make their own history rather than be restricted by the past.
"The strength of the band is its willingness to accept change. They have not been long enough to have that heritage like All-Stars and those bigger bands who've been around so long. This band is still forming its culture."
He said the culture the leaders in the band are trying to build is one that "allows for discipline, creativity and growth within the organisation. And for the organisation to grow with the players."
Acknowledging he was not the first choice arranger for the band, Graham said he was however recommended by the first choice, Akua Leith, whom he views as a "big brother". Discussing the union with the band, Graham said they enjoy a healthy, professional relationship despite challenges.
"They appreciate my input in terms of how to get the band to grow. Because the band does have aspirations of going up to medium category one day. But (we're learning) how to take that steps to allows that transition seamlessly."
Graham said there are plans to start an academy outside of the Carnival season to work within the Crown Point area and partner with the police youth clubs to "develop ourselves first and have a greater imprint in the community."