35 graduate from Hatters Youth Academy pan camp
IN this month of August, when the national instrument, the pan, is being celebrated, a call has been made for financial support for it.
Executive member of Pan Trinbago Whitfield Weekes has called on people not to pay mere lip service to the instrument, but physical support in terms of dollars and cents.
Addressing the graduating class of the Hatters Youth Academy pan camp on August 10, Weekes pointed out that when it comes to supporting the instrument, people always look to government and the private sector.
He called on pan lovers not to request complimentary tickets when there is a fundraiser, but to buy one.
The 35 graduating youths, who were exposed to singing, dancing, drumming, etiquette, art and craft training for the last month, are set to evolve into a junior pan side as requests are already coming in for them to perform at different events.
One such event is on August 27 at JTA Supermarket, Carlton Centre, San Fernando.
Weekes told the Newsday last Thursday that the media exposure it gave the band has greatly lifted the morale of the children and tutors.
“My phone has not stopped ringing with positive feedback from people here and abroad.”
At the graduation service, he noted, “Sometime in the 80s, late great calypsonian Merchant sang a song about pan being in danger. After hearing these children play, do you believe that?
“Pan is not in danger. We just have to manage it properly. We have to support it. We cannot depend only on corporate TT. When you come around a band and they tell you they have a fund raising event, don’t ask for a complimentary ticket.
“Come and pay. We need the financial support. It is not like 14-15 years (ago) when pan instruments were cheap. Pan is now a worldwide phenomenon. People all over the world are involved in pan. And the cost of instruments, like the cost of living, is high.
“I am always happy to see young people involved in playing our national instrument. There is such pride and joy in this and whenever I see young people in a panyard, I always stop and encourage them.”
However, Weekes pointed out the difficulty of attracting members without a home or the finances to continue the legacy.
The band, which was housed on Lady Hailes Avenue, San Fernando, was moved to make way for the San Fernando Waterfront Development. It has been renting premises at the Girl’s Guide headquarters on Rushworth Street since March as it awaits the state-of-the-art facility Government has promised to incorporate in the waterfront design.
The rental arrangement will come to an end in December.
Weekes saluted the tutors who worked magic with the students between four and 17 for transforming them into stars at the graduation.
"35 graduate from Hatters Youth Academy pan camp"