The preliminary round of the national Panorama competition large band category in the Northern Region on Sunday turned into a six-hour pan pilgrimage through Port of Spain with pan enthusiasts trekking from band to band.
It was a sight to behold at defending champions BP Renegades' Charlotte Street panyard as thousands converged on the venue.
With people walking and travelling from as far as Park Street, there was a gridlock causing traffic to come to a standstill. The police vehicle escorting the judges used the wrong lane to get into the panyard. One supporter said it was like a scene from the movie where Moses parted the Red Sea.
Once inside, the judges were able to hear the band play Duvone Stewart’s arrangement of Skinny Banton’s Wrong Again. Stewart had players and supporters singing and, in the end, they received thunderous applause as fireworks lit up the sky.
After the performance, he simply said: “The journey continues. BP and Renegades and I will survive.” The band is celebrating a 50-year relationship with its sponsor.
Before the Charlotte Street gridlock, Duke Street was also a mass of people as Massy Trinidad All Stars welcomed the judges. Pan Trinbago tried to get an on-time (7 pm) start but just as the band was about to play, Pan Trinbago’s president Beverly Ramsey-Moore and Culture Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly went outside to meet the Prime Minister.
Dr Rowley came in during the performance of Leon “Smooth” Edwards’ arrangement of Nailah Blackman’s More Sokah and seemed pleased with what he heard. When the band was finished playing, Rowley went out front and greeted the players. During a short exchange with pannist Dane Gulston, the PM said, “It was fantastic, excellent, this is what Carnival is about. But you making Invaders work hard.”
The pilgrimage moved to Tragarete Road to Nutrien Silver Stars where Rowley met his Barbados counterpart Mia Mottley to listen to Prof Liam Teague’s arrangement of Dear Promoter, sung by Kees Dieffenthaller and Aaron “Voice” St Louis.
Shell Invaders awaited the arrival of the officials at the Queen’s Park Oval. The sponsor’s representatives welcomed and entertained Rowley and Mottley before the band started their performance of Arddin Herbert’s arrangement of Feeling It by Timothy “Baron” Watkins.
The judges’ caravan reached MHTL Starlift at about 10.45 pm where new kid on the block, Dante Pantin, was making his arranging debut in the large band category. The band gave a dramatic and energetic performance of Wrong Again, and when they were finished the supporters showed their appreciation with very loud applause. It was one of the most entertaining performances of the evening.
After, Pantin told Newsday he felt very good. “I chose this song since the middle of December and told the captain I wanted to do it. He felt it was too simple, but I showed him how I wanted to manipulate the music. I also want to thank drill masters Michael Joseph and Carlon Harewood for a job well done.”
Len "Boogsie" Sharpe and Hadco Phase II Pan Groove proved to be different on the night. They played 2020 Vision, a Boogsie composition. The song is not as popular as the others heard on the night, but the band was able to bring out exactly what the arranger wanted.
Mottley rejoined Gadsby-Dolly on Tragarete Road at Desperadoes panyard. It was after midnight when the judges arrived. They heard a Carlton "Zanda" Alexander arrangement of More Sokah. Desperadoes thrilled the massive audience which stayed the course from as early as 7 pm to listen to an evening of sweet pan music.
Judging continues on Tuesday In the eastern region.