Phase II promises 'epic' virtual concert

Trumpeter Etienne Charles, left, Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, and Barbadian saxophonist Romaro Greaves will perform in Another Phase virtual concert being staged by HADCO Phase II Pan Groove on Sunday. -
Trumpeter Etienne Charles, left, Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, and Barbadian saxophonist Romaro Greaves will perform in Another Phase virtual concert being staged by HADCO Phase II Pan Groove on Sunday. -

HADCO Phase II Pan Groove captain Terry Bernard is promising patrons that Sunday's virtual concert, Another Phase, will be "epic."

He said the approximately two-hour, pre-recorded show was originally scheduled to be broadcast on January 27 but was moved to January 31 to accommodate supporters who were not aware of the cut-off time and had waited until the "last minute."

"We apologise for moving the show," he said to Newsday in a telephone interview Thursday.

Asked about the decision to put on a virtual concert, Bernard said throughout the pandemic "nothing was happening."

"We could either throw our hands in the air or dig deep into our reserves and come up with novel ideas. And our supporters were looking for the music as well as our sponsors who had sponsored us for Carnival. So we came up with the novel idea to take the show to the people and to their homes."

But the implementation was not without its challenges. He said due to the covid19 restrictions the band had to rehearse with reduced numbers. As the restrictions relaxed more players were added but it still took a lot longer than it normally would have taken to rehearse. The band also had to cut back rehearsal end time to 10 pm.

Johan Chuckaree -

There was also the challenge of recording the music. Bernard recalled while recording at the band's Hamilton Street, Woodbrook base, the sound of a nearby cooling tower came through and the band had to shift to the National Academy of the Performing Arts, Port of Spain.

"That set us back a lot."

The band then had to do the video recording.

"We wanted to do a proper show and proper production. People feel steelbands operate vie-ki-vie. But we are trying to do a show like a huge promoter would do within our capabilities and resources."

The band went to sponsor John Hadad and the HADCO group and received the "blessing" for the show. The band also used its own funds to "hire the best."

The line-up for the concert includes musical director and pan icon Len "Boogsie" Sharpe, Nailah Blackman, Olatunji, saxophonist Romaro Greaves, pannists Joshua Regrello, Johann Chuckaree, and his sister, classical pianist Johanna Chuckaree, trumpeter Etienne Charles, champion arranger Duvonne Stewart, The Lydian Singers and Voix Riches, an all-girl vocal group from San Fernando.

Nailah Blackman -

Bernard said people received a whole lot of free stuff during the covid period and may have challenges to pay for events.

"But the show we are putting will be beyond compare."

He said the band decided to sell the show to raise funds for several reasons, including to provide an avenue for artists who were "doing nothing," and to earn revenue to assist its members.

"It is a huge investment and a huge risk financially."

And how does the ticket process work? He explained that it will take the patron link where they have to enter an e-mail address. The patron will receive a confirmation upon payment and 24 hours before the show they will get a link to log on and see the show at the appointed time.

Bernard said the songs will be a mix of old and new original compositions by Sharpe as well as general music.

"It will be an epic show. With the quality of the show and artistes, it will not even feel like it is virtual. It will almost feel like you are in the event itself. It will be an event beyond a steelband production. We went beyond to make sure we have the best in everything. Best lighting and props, best engineers available, and premier artistes giving of their best. It is a show you don't want to miss."

Bernard expressed hope that the concert will inspire other steelbands to hold similar events.

He thanked John Hadad and the HADCO group, San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello for being very helpful and supportive, Culture Minister Randall Mitchell and the ministry, and former culture minister Joan Yuille-Williams who "has been a pillar behind us with this show." He also thanked the artistes who perform with the band.

"They were very co-operative and very understanding."

Another Phase airs at 8 pm. Tickets sales close off at 8 pm on Saturday.

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"Phase II promises ‘epic’ virtual concert"

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