Monday, February 23, 2009


Gold for silver stars
Newtown band clinches Panorama title by one point

champions: Members of Silver Stars Steel Orchestra celebrate their first victory in the National Panorama Final, Conventional Large Bands category, playing the Edwin Pouchet/Alvin Daniell composition of "First In De Line" at the Queen's Park Savannah on Saturday night. -Photo: ROBERT TAYLOR

A musical illusion, coupled with self-determination and hard work, gave Silver Stars a one-point lead over defending champions Phase 11 Pan Groove, thereby giving them their first ever National Panorama title at the Queen's Park Savannah last Saturday.

According to arranger Edwin Pouchet, "I am extremely happy for the players. They worked hard after the disappointment of the fourth place in the semi-finals.

"I got inspiration from the song and players and knew we had to win this one. Now we are down in history as the only steelband to win Band of the Year and National Panorama."

About Silver Stars's performance Pouchet said, "I used a different bass line in every verse and chorus and our 30 tenors were outstanding. I was a bit worried that all the tenors might not sound in unison, but it worked well.

"I used the African drum but not African music. I also used a Latin flavour but not a Latin beat. It was more of Trinidad and Tobago Creole music."

Silver Stars amassed 469 points for their rendition of Pouchet's arrangement of his and Alvin Daniell's song "First in De Line". They started the performance with the Olympic theme and then moved straight into the song with a burst of energy which they sustained throughout.

The sold-out Queen's Park Savannah audience rose to their feet with a thunderous roar when Silver Stars were finished and for about two minutes after there was sustained applause.

Playing in eighth position, defending champions Phase II Pan Groove knew what they had to do to retain their title.

With Poppy and Boy Boy (Kernel Roberts and Machel Montano) in tow waving flags, arranger Len "Boogsie" Sharpe took the savannah on a magical journey with his arrangement of "Magic Drum". It was a well-executed and masterful performance, much better than what they played in the semi-final round.

The finals began with RBTT Redemption Sound Setters playing "First in De Line" as arranged by Winston Gordon.

Strict enforcement of Rule 4.3 (Large Conventional Steelbands) which states, "No large Conventional steelband shall be permitted to participate in the competition with more than 100 players", was a major factor in the competition being dragged out. Each band had to be checked over and over, causing long delays.

It took former champions Sagicor Exodus more than 30 minutes before they got started.

They were "charged" for having more that the 100 players that were allowed in the large band category. After the matter was resolved the band performed Pelham Goddard's arrangement of "Festival Time".

Witco Desperadoes came on stage and set up in record

time and got down to the business at hand. Their execution of Robbie Greenidge's arrangement of "Pan Redemption" was superb, as it brought back memories of the late Clive Bradley. Desperadoes proved to be one of the more musical bands on the night. Silver Stars played in fourth position, making way for bp Renegades, whose rendition of "Dr Jit", arranged by Amrit Samaroo, showed off their tenor section to the max.

For the first time in the band's history, Leon "Smooth" Edwards and Neal and Massy Trinidad All Stars were doing an "own song". "Pan Rivalry" was composed by Smooth with lyrics by Larry Harewood.

It was a typical All Stars performance with their well-coordinated dance routine by the frontline players for which they received much applause.

Petrotrin Siparia Deltones dared to be different and arranger Carlton Zanda Alexander showed it with his arrangement of KMC's "I'm not Drunk". It was a creditable performance, turning a simple song into something very musical. Kudos must be given to this band which moved up into the large category after winning as a small band two years ago.


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