There were gasps of disappointment when it was announced that the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra would not be participating in the preliminary round of the national steelband panorama competition for single pan bands in the northern region which took place on Saturday at The Paddock, Queen’s Park Savannah.
It was explained by the announcer that due to the fact that all military personnel had been recalled from extracurricular duties this also included members of the steel orchestra.
The announcer also said the management and players of the Defence Force Steel Orchestra were very sorry for any inconvenience caused and wished all participating bands good luck in the competition.
One source told the Express this was a sad move as the band practised up to Friday and had even got their uniforms.
The T&T Defence Force Steel Orchestra is one of the bands patrons look forward to seeing and hearing every year, they were supposed to play arranger Robert Tobitt’s arrangement of Christopher “Tambu” Herbert’s “No, No We eh Going Home”.
Members of the other bands felt that while it was sad that the Army steelband is not in the competition. It simply meant another band will get into the semi-finals.
Twenty eight bands faced the judges in an effort to get into the semi-final round of the competition and provided keen competition and great music for pan music lovers.
From early as band number three, the competition was keen. Laventille-based Uni Stars thrilled the audience with Kareem Brown’s arrangement of “Woman Is Boss”.
They were followed by Belmont Hi Larks which rendered Brian “Bean” Griffith’s arrangement of SuperBlue’s “Spankin”.
Throughout the evening there were exceptional performances by several “big name bands” but the smaller bands also gave a good account of themselves.
Bands like City Sun Valley, World Wide, Nostrand Symphony and Brimblers had their counterparts like St James Tripolians, D’Original Woodbrook Modernaires, T&T Fire Services, Woodbrook Playboyz, and Scrunters Pan Groove looking over their shoulders.
La Creole Pan Groove commanded attention with their rendition of Bunji Garlin’s “Carnival Tabanca” arranged by Yohan Popwell.
But the hit of the night was a four -year-old pannist dressed in red as he played with Sea Lots One Love. The tiny tot had patrons staring at his hands as he played every note of Ian “Brimmer” Baird’s arrangement of Lord Kitchener’s “67”. He was simply amazing.
Although the programme started an hour late it ran smoothly; that is, until there was an hour-long intermission. This meant the show ran well over midnight when the last band finished.