MORE than $2 million are up for grabs in the Trinidad and Tobago Steelband Music Festival, Pan is Beautiful XII, which is scheduled to run from October 5 to November 16.
There are four categories—soloists, single pan, ensemble and orchestra—and the festival has attracted the largest turnout of participants since the 1980s.
This was revealed yesterday morning in the Festival Ballroom at Capital Plaza, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain, at the official launch of Pan Is Beautiful XII by festival chairman Col Edison Isaac.
Thirty-one soloists, 14 ensemble and 14 orchestras have entered the competition.
Eight soloists and ten single-pan bands will go into a final night show on November 10, while six ensemble and eight orchestras will compete in a final on November 16.
The two major venues for Pan is Beautiful XII are the Queen’s Park Savannah and Jean Pierre Complex in Port of Spain.
Col Isaac said the Pan is Beautiful XII committee is extremely proud to showcase the music of living calypso legend Dr Leroy Calliste, the Black Stalin.
His calypsoes—“Feeling to Party”, “Respect the Steelband” and “Mr Pan Maker”—will be the test pieces for the single pan, ensemble and orchestras, respectively.
Each category will have a Best Test Piece, Best Tune of Choice and the overall champion and certificates of participation will be presented to all participants.
According to Isaac, “To encourage maximum participation, unsponsored steelbands will receive funding in order to assist them in their preparation for the competition. Judging for the festival over the range of categories will be done by local and foreign judges. The committee has compiled a listing of distinguished local adjudicators for the festival.”
Pan Trinbago president Keith Diaz paid tribute to President Anthony Carmona for agreeing to be patron of Pan is Beautiful XII—Steelband Music Festival 2013.
The Capital Plaza audience—which included past presidents of Pan Trinbago Patrick Arnold and Owen Serrette, National Carnival Commission chairman Allison Demas, chairman of the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) David Lopez, Clary Benn and Winston Gordon among others—got a little history lesson on the Steelband Music Festival.
It was started in the early 1950s when there was no room at the traditional Music Festival for steelbands but only for conventional instruments.
It was in 1980 the Pan is Beautiful series started under Arnim Smith and continued with Serrette and Arnold.
This year’s festival was launched two years ago but had to be postponed because of the State of emergency in 2011.
Vel Lewis, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of The Arts and Multiculturalism, filled in for the Minister, Lincoln Douglas.
Lewis said the national musical instrument is an amazing instrument with no comparisons.
Black Stalin was on hand at the launch to sing a few verses of the three songs chosen as test pieces.
He got the audience involved in his performance by having them sing along with him.