IN recent times gunshots have been the more popular sounds emanating from Enterprise, Chaguanas.
On Friday night, however, the sweet sound of steel took centre stage in the community as Panorama 2023 officially played off in central Trinidad with the preliminary judging of single pan bands in panyards.
The first band to strike a note in Pan Trinbago’s 60th Diamond Jubilee was Edinburgh 500 Steel Ensemble at Lapwing Crescent, in Edinburgh 500.
Two Enterprise bands followed – Pan Angels at Badase Street, and New Age Trendsetters at Francois Street.
The opening night was tinged with some sadness as a minute of silence was observed for iconic pannist Kevin Sobers who died, earlier Friday, from a massive heart attack.
Sobers played with Tropical Angel Harps, also an Enterprise band, and New Age Trendsetters and spent a great part of his life travelling on the European circuit representing TT through the steelpan. He was also the lead soloist with jazz band Moyen, and was the brother of local dancehall artiste, Marlon Asher, and calypsonian Stacey Sobers.
Observing the encouraging crowds which showed up to witness the start of Panorama after a covid19 imposed two-year absence, Pan Trinbago PRO Whitfield Weekes told Newsday, “Pan is the answer to crime."
“Not only in Enterprise, but all over TT. It is a unifying force to bring peace to all people. We have seen it here tonight.”
He observed that the two Enterprise bands, which are also close to Tropical Angel Harps, “are in the middle of the crime heartland."
“Those three bands are located in a most violent territory and are all “creating that avenue for peace. If more resources and support are put into these bands, there would be a reduction in crime.
“I am of the firm view that pan is the answer to stop crime,” Weekes said.
The season got off to a creditable start with young pan arranger Josiah Didier making his debut with Edinburgh 500 Steel Ensemble, managed by Dennis Singh. The band performed Merchant’s Caribbean Connection.
Marcus Ash, Pan Trinbago’s education officer, congratulated Singh for taking a chance with Didier and giving youths an opportunity to showcase their talent.
Having the honour of opening the celebration with Didier also playing the national anthem, Ash said it was history in the making.
He congratulated the band on behalf of president Beverley Ramsey-Moore, chalking up her absence due to a family matter.
Showing its readiness for Panorama, Pan Angels gave a convincing performance for a spot in the finals with a Ricardo Dennis arrangement of Out and Bad.
New Age Trendsetters was also gave a solid showing with a Nicholas Joseph and Myles Phillips arrangement of Fire Coming Down.
With flambeaux alight and an infusion of Calypso Rose's Fire, Fire, the band had its audience singing along and dancing long after the judges – Damien Phillip, Ezra Joseph, Roger Sardinha and Stephanie Power – were done with their adjudication.
Single pan judging in the South/Central Region ended on Saturday night, with judges visiting Jah Roots in Point Fortin, Blanca 47 in La Brea and Super Vibes in La Romaine.
There are only six single bands in the South/Central region.