THREE young professional music arrangers have come together to put the spotlight on a 54-year-old pan institution from San Juan/Barataria. Potential Symphony Steel Orchestra will enter the 2020 National Panorama competition with the names Carlan “Panman” Harewood, Kareem Brown and Amrit Samaroo on its banner.
Potential Symphony will campaign in the medium category with Sparrow’s All them Tobago Gyul arranged by Samaroo and Brown as the drill master.
The band was formed back in 1965 as Eastside Symphony and had a fair run in the Panorama competition having placed in the finals on numerous occasion.
In 1976 the band changed its name to Potential Symphony Steel Orchestra and had arrangers like Len “Boogsie” Sharpe for eight years, then the late Ken “Professor” Philmore who took up the mantle as arranger for five years.
As time went by, Potential fell down into the small conventional category until Harewood took over the reigns and tried to move the band forward. In 2002 the band upgraded to a medium conventional and in the space of two years placed second in the Panorama competition.
Now, these three young arrangers are making a run to put Potential Symphony at the top of the medium conventional competition.
Samaroo is no stranger to success, he holds an Associate Degree in Performing Arts from the College of Science Technology and Applied Arts of TT (COSTATT) and a Bachelor of Arts in Musical Arts from the University of the West Indies (UWI). With that knowledge and the experience he acquired from his father, the late Jit Samaroo, he took BP Renegades Youth Steel Orchestra to winners row in its first three years (2002-2004) in the National Junior Panorama competition.
He has also arranged for the senior Renegades orchestra for two years as well as steelbands outside of TT.
But his mark in the steelband world came when as founder, bandleader and musical director of Supernovas Steel Orchestra he took first place in the small conventional category in 2014.
After a few years (2016), Amrit took the bold step into the Large Conventional category and in his debut year Supernovas placed second among the established steel orchestras. Supernovas placed second in the International Conference and Panorama also held in that year at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain.
Drill master Brown is also well-qualified with a BSc in Musical Arts from the University of the West Indies. He is also the arranger for Highlanders (small), Uni Stars (single pan), worked with NGC Couva Joylanders and even took that band to third place in the National Steelpan Music Festival.
Harewood has been in the spotlight for the last five years as the winning arranger in the single pan category. He is seeking to make his mark as manager of Potential Symphony which resulted in the coming together of the trio.
These three arrangers have one thing in common, they are all members of the National Steel Symphony Orchestra (NSSO). Harewood as a player/composer, Brown as a player/arranger and Samaroo as a player, staff arranger. So working together is not new to them.
All eyes will be on these three friends who are hoping to revive the name of Potential Symphony Steel Orchestra in the Panorama world.
The Malick based-band will be the first of eight bands to play when preliminary judging for the Panorama Medium Conventional Bands category begins on January 19 in the Eastern Region. Judging in other regions will continue until January 23.