T&TEC New East Side Dimension arranger Kersh Ramsey, 25, believes Tobago made a powerful statement at this year's Panorama small conventional bands finals on Friday. Tobago was well represented at the Queen's Park Savannah in port Spain with five bands in the final. It was not just participation to be proud of as three Tobago bands placed in the final, with Uptown Fascinators getting the judges' nod for first place. T&EC New East Side Dimension placing fourth and West Side Symphony in fifth. C&B Crown Cordaans was tied for eleventh and Tobago Pan-thers tied for thirteenth.
"The Tobago bands were brilliant. The Tobago bands made a statement that aye, Tobago – we didn't come to play. I think the Tobago bands take the Panorama much more serious than the Trinidad bands. Myself and (Uptown Fascinators arranger) Ojay (Richards), I know we are very competitive. Whatever we do we put our all in it and we go to win."
On the three Tobago teams that placed in the top five, Ramsey believes a modern approach taken by the young arrangers was bearing fruit.
"Ojay, myself and Mickiel (Gabriel of West Side Symphony), we are young arrangers coming out of UTT, so, the approach we took in arranging is kind of different. In UTT we learnt to scout our music so we had our arrangement beforehand and I think that helps and it works for us. Instead of going to the panyard and trying to arrange from your mind."Ramsey said he was pleased with his band's performance in the final but acknowledged complacency might have crept in after the band topped the judges scorecards in the preliminaries.
"Performance was good, it was great. I was pleased after the band finished perform. It was energetic, they executed well. I was most comfortable and satisfied. Obviously it was a disappointment from last year and after preliminaries in first (place). We got a little complacent knowing we band in first place and thinking we up dey. So we got a little complacent going into the semifinals while other bands were coming for us. We went in thinking, 'We got this,' but apparently the other bands were better than us."
After placing second in the Panorama small band final last year, Ramsey, the nephew of Pan Trinbago president Beverley Ramsey-Moore, was part of a Tobago House of Assembly contingent that went to a trade fair in Germany to market the island as a tourist destination. He said he continues to enjoy being an ambassador for the national instrument.
"Yes, I went to ITB Berlin last year and that was a great experience. Being able to showcase my talent abroad and represent Trinidad an Tobago was a great experience. I learnt a lot."