MORE JOY: Ecstatic members of Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove rejoice early yesterday after they were announced the winners of the Large Band category of the Panorama finals at the Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain. "More Love", arranged and composed by Len "Boogsie" Sharpe, earned the band 283 points to the take the title. —Photo: Robert Taylor

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Phase II takes pan title

By Gary Cardinez

Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove won the National Panorama Finals 2013 for medium and large steelbands on Saturday evening at the Grand Stand, Queen's Park Savannah.

Competing in the large band category, Phase II of Hamilton Street, Woodbrook, Port of Spain retained its lead from the semi- final round of the competition and defeated the nine other bands in their category with a fantastic performance.

The competition had begun promptly at 7 p.m. with 10 steelbands performing in the medium category in the first half of the competition. But it was to be a long night of steelpan music.

It was just on 2.39 a.m. when arranger Len 'Boogsie" Sharpe gave the count for his composition "More Love" which features vocals by calypsonian Leroy Calliste 'Black Stalin'.

From the very first note Phase II was heard loud and clear and for eight minutes and eight seconds, maestro Sharpe conducted his band through this most unique arrangement, delivering a lovely, loving performance.

The arrangement does not depend on dazzling chromatic runs, but rather simplicity and if you will, logic and a display of sheer musical excellence. After the performance, Sharpe described the work of the players as "boss". He also fulfilled the promise he'd made after the semi-finals, which was that he would win Panorama.

Phase II's players delivered all the love that Sharpe asked of them and it was no surprise that the North and Grand Stands erupted with more of the same. After the performance newly crowned Soca Monarch SuperBlue (Austin Lyons) was seen onstage congratulating Sharpe. SuperBlue commented that he had really pulled it off.

Yesterday Sharpe told the Express that the victory was dedicated to the memory of his friend and long standing member of Phase II Franklyn Olliviere who died suddenly last year. Ollivere had been Sharpe's right hand man. Sharpe also thanked captain Ronnie Howard, manager Errol Skerrett, drill masters Natasha Joseph and Gary Padmore, the tuners and sponsors for making it possible.

Most of all he thanked Black Stalin for the lyrics of "More Love" and said it had been a pleasure working with the five-time Calypso Monarch and arranger Leston Paul.

"I wanted to do something different, for years we have been doing it one way. I want people to hear the music. The pan is out there now and we have to do things that the world would understand and recognise; we still trying to get the instrument to be accepted international," Sharpe said.

Phase II increased their lead in the semi-finals from one point to five points; this time around their nearest rival was defending champions Neal &Massy Trinidad All Stars with 278 points.

After being given a rousing welcome by the audience, All Stars gave an energetic performance. Their rendition of Leon 'Smooth' Edwards' arrangement of "Bounce and Drive" was not interrupted by an earthquake that rocked Trinidad while they were on stage. Once again, however, Neal &Massy Trinidad All Stars has been denied the hat trick of wins in Panorama.

BP Renegades pulled out all stops to produce a game wining rendition of Duvonne Stewart's arrangement of "Shock Attack". Their presentation included white satin-clad moko jumbies towering about 30 feet in the air. Perhaps it was not the music but the theatrics which took something away from their performance to put them in third position with 275 points.

Dressed in gold and black Republic Bank Exodus looked solid but actually lost one point from their semi final score coming up fourth with 271 for their performance of Pelham Goddard's arrangement of "Gold".

Junior Sammy Group Skiffle placed fifth with 270 points; four more than their semi final score and this time around the players seemed to understood the song they were playing and executed Ray Holman's arrangement of his own composition "Supna-the Dream" with confidence.

Much was expected of Witco Desperadoes as the audience gave them a warm welcome and David Rudder sang a verse of his classic "Hammer" bringing some nostalgia to the stage and memories of the late bandleader Rudolph Charles before their arranger ace musician Robbie Greenidge gave the count.

They too presented sweet music, very jazzy and characteristic of the musical style of the arranger and deserved the applause they received for their execution of Greenidge's arrangement of "Hammer Time". Desperadoes received 268 points tying for sixth with CAL Invaders.

Invaders performed Arddin Herbert's arrangement of his own composition "Dat is Lie".

PCS Silver Stars had opened the performances in the large band category and many felt they set the standard for the rest of the big bands to measure up. The band looked very attractive on stage with their glittering green canopy motifs and as usual the frontline tenor pannists dazzled. However, they came in ninth with their rendition of Edwin Pouchet's arrangement of "Shock Attack". Their performance included dancing and singing and confetti and pyrotechnics to garner 267 points in position seven.

NLCB Fonclaire brought soca queen Destra Garcia with them for their rendition of Ken 'Professor' Philmore's arrangement of "Addicted" but could only manage 267 points placing them seventh. "Addicted" features vocals by Garcia.

RBC Redemption Sound Setters placed 10th with their rendition of Winston Gordon and Michael Toby's arrangement of "More Than an Oil Drum".

Judging in the medium category saw Sieon Gomez and NLCB Buccooneers beating the field with a fantastic rendition of his arrangement of "Gold".

They were followed by Courts Sound Specialist of Laventille which performed Ken Philmore's arrangement of "Long Time" and Petrotrin Katzenjammers for their rendition of Len Boogsie Sharpe's arrangement of "Kershon The Javelin Champion".

Curepe Scherzando gave the audience something to listen to with their very danceable and musical performance of Yohan Popwell's arrangement of "We Come out to Play". They placed fourth. See Page 5

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