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Carnival 2014

Victory for Pan Elders

By COREY CONNELLY Monday, March 3 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Like Nello: Pan Elders players, including this intense young man, wore jump-suits, the signature style of Lord Nelson for their performance of his 'Al...
Like Nello: Pan Elders players, including this intense young man, wore jump-suits, the signature style of Lord Nelson for their performance of his 'Al...

For the first time in its 15-year-history, San Fernando-based outfit, Pan Elders, yesterday emerged as the champion steelband in the medium band category of the National Panorama Finals at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain.

The youthful band, which has its pan tent at 18A, Carib Street, San Fernando, advanced to Saturday night’s finals as hot favourites to take the title, having won both the preliminary and semi-final rounds of the competition. For their success, members of the band, led by Hollister Smith, were presented with a huge replica cheque to the tune of $600,000, after scoring 284 points in the prestigious competition.

Last year’s winner in the medium band category, Tobago’s NLCB Buccooneers was relegated to second spot with a total of 281 points while Courts Sound Specialists of Laventille had to settle for third place with 277 points. Some ten steelbands participated in the medium band category of the competition.

Peopled by the children and grandchildren of retired or deceased players, Pan Elders, which was established in 1999, comprises youngsters from mainly south Trinidad.

Over the years, the band has performed consistently throughout the south and central region. In 2008, it won the small band category of the National Panorama competition and has since been a frequent finalist in the event.

On Saturday night, the band, performing in position number four, rendered a Duvonne Stewart arranged piece to Lord Nelson’s (Robert Nelson’s) ever-popular 1981 song, “All Ah We Is One Family.”

Their exhilarating performance was well-received by the capacity audience, which applauded wildly when a feisty Lord Nelson, 83, with the aid of a cane, put in an appearance on the stage with the band and showed some of his wining skills. Speaking after their victory, Pan Elders’ captain Quincy Smith, appealed for sponsorship. “I am hoping that people will now come on board because we do not have a sponsor,” said Smith, amid the din of jubilant supporters.

Thanking God for what he regarded as a blessing, Smith also extended kudos to the band’s manager Hollister Smith and production team, which included arranger Duvonne Stewart, Dante Pantin, Arnold Cardinal, Gregory Smith and others.

Smith said the band was basking in the glory of its victory.

Led by Mervyn Solomon, NLCB Buccooneers also delivered a highly-entertaining presentation to win the $550,000 second prize. The last band to hit the stage in the medium band category, Buccooneers performed David Rudder’s “Madness,” a piece arranged by Seion Gomez.

Courts Sound Specialists of Laventille also won the hearts of the audience with its well-orchestrated presentation of the 1991 Russell Cadogan song, “Poison,” arranged by Ken “Professor” Philmore. The band, which received $450,000, also won the People’s Choice Award — a new feature of the Panorama competition established three years ago.

Fans would have been able to text the code of their favourite bands to 4Pan or 4726 or log on to www.pantrinbago.tv to vote. Voting began at the start of the National Panorama finals and ended five minutes after the performance of the final band.

Placing fourth in Saturday night’s competition was Petrotrin Katzenjammers, which received 272 points, playing SuperBlue’s “Spankin.” There was a three-way tie for fifth place between Valley Harps, NGC Couva Joylanders and Arima Angel Harps.

The bands each received 272 points, performing Machel Montano’s “Happiest Man Alive,” Christopher “Tambu” Herbert’s “Free Up,” and Winston Scarborough’s (The Original De Fosto Himself) “In De Minor,” respectively.

Eighth place went to Arima’s Melodians with David Rudder’s “The Hammer,” while two band tied for ninth place — NGC Steels Xplosion and Carib Dixieland. The theme of this year’s National Panorama Finals was “The Evolution of Pan.”

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