PANNIST Emmanuel Joseph is the latest recipient of the Jit Samaroo bursary which is awarded to support members of BP Renegades steelband with their academic expenses.
Joseph is the second recipient of the award which was launched in 2017 by BPTT "to align its support for Renegades with the company’s focus on development through education," said a media release.
Joseph is in his second year at the University of the West Indies where he is studying English Literature and hopes to minor in linguistics and music.
On his being presented with the bursary Joseph said the Jit Samaroo Award demonstrates the special relationship between the band and BPTT. The company and the panside, based at Charlotte Street, Port of Spain, share a 50-year partnership.
“This bursary is the culmination of the relationship between BPTT and the Renegades cultural organisation. It represents the 50 years and even more that we have shared together. It also encompasses the vision and the mission to not just see results on the Panorama stage but to see results holistically,” he said in the release.
The award is named after Samaroo whose arrangements took the band to nine titles in the National Panorama competition. Recipients receive $10,000 a year for full-time undergraduate programmes, $8,000 for part-time programmes or $6,000 for diploma or certificate programmes. Recipients must satisfy academic criteria to continue to receive payment and must pledge their commitment to the band depending on the length of their programme.
Joseph said, “With the award I won’t have to worry about fees and books. It will really take some weight off my parents’ shoulders.” He said the funds will also help him to buy better musical equipment.
VP of corporate operations at BPTT Giselle Thompson said, “We are honoured to continue our support for the BP Renegades through the Jit Samaroo Award and we are happy to see the next generation of Renegades members developing within the band as musicians in their own right. BP and Renegades are celebrating 50 years of partnership this year and this award represents another step in our journey together.”
President of BP Renegades Colin Greaves added: “The BPTT Jit Samaroo Award represents an important investment into the human capital of the BP Renegades Steel Orchestra and the wider community. Emmanuel has truly developed into an exemplary role model and youth leader within the band, and he is very much deserving of this accolade. We are extremely proud of his efforts and thankful to our corporate partners BPTT for their continued support.”
Emmanuel is a former captain of the Renegades Juniors and would have been transitioning into the senior band were it not for covid19 and its impact on the 2021 Carnival season, the release said. Earlier this year he made his Schools Panorama arranging debut with his former school Holy Cross College. He plans to continue arranging in Junior Panorama and using his skills to help develop Renegades. He also has his eyes set on being a top pan soloist. Joseph featured in one of Renegades' Beat the PANdemic live online performances, an experience which, he said, "brought him to another level" in terms of performing and gave him the opportunity to learn.