Sweet, sweet music is expected to fill the air as Pan Trinbago celebrates the golden jubilee of Panorama this evening with the national finals.
But the million-dollar first prize for the 2013 Panorama champion is not the only thing at stake in tonight's final at the Queen's Park Savannah in Port of Spain.
The elusive hat-trick of wins is on the line for defending champion Neal and Massy Trinidad All Stars, which will perform in position six with Leon "Smooth" Edwards' arrangement of "Bounce and Drive".
This is the second time All Stars will be on a hat-trick, having tried in 1982 after wining in 1980 and 1981.
But it will be no easy task for the champ as it will come up against a recharged and energised Witco Desperadoes team. Confidence is high in the Cadiz Road camp as Desperadoes plays Robbie Greenidge's arrangement of "Hammer Time".
Despers' aim is to win the title and stretch their lead as the band with the most Panorama wins (ten). They have also tried wining a hat-trick on two occasions— 1978 and 2001—having won in 1976/77 and 1999/2000, Desperadoes will play in position seven tonight.
Bp Renegades is the only steel orchestra to register a hat-trick of wins in Panorama.
The Charlotte Street band achieved this feat in 1995, 1996 and 1997 under the distinguished cowbell of arranger Jit Samaroo— the last time they won the title.
Renegades comes to the Savannah in position three with a Duvonne Stewart's arrangement of "Shock Attack".
Stewart said, "Of course, I have a few tricks up my sleeve. To start with, I realise that 'gimmicks' and embellishments have a big influence on judging of a band's performance. They create excitement, which seems to turn on both the patrons and the judges. We aim to do our sponsors, our management and our supporters proud on Panorama final night."
Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove will play in position nine with Len "Boogsie" Sharpe's arrangement of "More Love".
With one point between them and the second-place band after the semi-final round, Phase II is looking to move further ahead after their performance.
They, too, have tried for the hat-trick on two previous occasions —1999 and 2007, having won in 1987/ 1998 and 2005/2006.
Sharpe said, "We will win Panorama. I am comfortable with the music, it is something different.
I want to thank Stalin for doing such a fine job with the lyrics. I am just waiting; I love the position we playing at (nine).
Republic Bank Exodus tried for the hat-trick in 2005 after wining in 2003 and 2004, and that was the last time they put their hands on the title.
Exodus is yearning for a win and will try in position five with a Pelham Goddard arrangement of "Gold". They finished second after the semi-final round.
Exodus manager Ainsworth Mohammed said, "Exodus is going for gold, and we will win this Panorama. It is one of Pelham's best Panorama arrangements; this song has a wonderful melody and it is a celebration of Trinbago's nationhood. PG says the music is good and we are very confident."
PSC Silver Stars is the final band in the line-up which tried for a hat-trick; it was in 2011, having won in 2009 and 2010. They will come to the Savannah to start the "pan war" in position one, hoping to take another title with an Edwin Pouchet arrangement of "Shock Attack".
It should be noted that in the history of modern Panorama (1963), two other bands were on a hat-trick—Solo Harmonites and North Stars. They won in 1971/1972 and 1963/ 1964, respectively.
The other four steel orchestras in tonight's final are Junior Sammy Group Skiffle, Invaders, Soundsetters and Fonclaire.
Skiffle is a band trying to get its first Panorama title. This Coffee Street, San Fernando, outfit is coming to town with the grand master of "own tune"—Ray Holman—who has arranged "Supna—The Dream" for them to play in position two.
Holman said, "Junior Sammy Group Skiffle is in a good place right now. The kids are showing off some skills that have me amazed, they are confident with their playing, their spirits are high and the feeling of taking it is most present.
"I have tried something new; my aim is to take pan in a different direction. We have done it the same way for the last 50 years, now is the time for change. I don't want pan to suffer the same fate as calypso. Now, soca is everything, pan will not end up that way. I will make it all inclusive. Tell them I say look out."
CAL Invaders has been making inroads into the final over the last few years and seems destined to grab a title. With arranger Arddin Herbert playing in the front line, Invaders will play "Dat is Lie" as arranged by Herbert in position eight.
Music co-ordinator for Invaders Desiree Myers said, "We are quite confident with the arrangement. It is enjoyable and the players are comfortable. With the right execution, we will end up in the first three.
Coming from the sister isle, Tobago, RBC Redemption Sound Setters has been a perennial finalist and will try to upset the apple cart with a Winston Gordon/Michael Toby ar rangement of "More Than An Oil Drum" as they perform in position four.
Bringing up the rear is NLCB Fonclaire with a Ken "Professor" Philmore arrangement of "Addicted".
The title has eluded Fonclaire for quite some time, with their closest chance being the memorable "Pan by Storm" in 1990.
Order of appearance
1. Pan Elders—We Come out To Play
2. Steel Xplosion—Tell Dem
3. Curepe Scherzando—
We Come Out To Play
4. NLCB Buccooneeers—Gold
5. NGC Couva Joylanders—
Band From Space
6. Carib Dixieland—Shock Attack
7. Valley Harps—More Love
8. Petrotrin Katzenjammers—
9. Courts Sound Specialists of
10. Arima Angel Harps—
We Come Out To Play
1. PCS Nitrogen Silver Stars—
2. Junior Sammy Group Skiffle—
3. Bp Renegades—Shock Attack
4. RBC Redemption Sound Setters—
More Than An Oil Drum
5. Republic Bank Exodus—Gold
6. Neal & Massy Trinidad All Stars—
Bounce And Drive
7. WITCO Desperadoes—
8. CAL Invaders—Dat is Lie
9. Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove—
10. NLCB Fonclaire—Addicted