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Steel Pan in Dominica

Date: 04.29.06

Destination Dominica -
The Youths Have Landed

2006 OECS Junior Pan Competition

 LIAT airplane taxis on Dominica's Melville Hall airport tarmac

Dominica - One by one the mid-size planes continuously appeared from behind the mountains carrying some of the Caribbean's steelpan music movements' most prized possessions.  The loud roar of the turbo propeller planes brought excitement and anticipation to the onlookers as each plane landed and taxied on the runway to its off load position.  The planes came in from Antigua, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts/Nevis, and St. Vincent.  On this day the treasured cargo is the future of the steelpan - the region's most talented youth musicians aged 16 and under.  They are all present in the Caribbean island of Dominica to part take in the much anticipated OECS Junior Pan Competition.

The recurring scene of excited and jovial young musicians carrying their prized steelpan musical instruments through customs was to be repeated many times throughout this day.  Many of the youth were traveling outside of their respective countries for the first time.  Indeed, for many, this was their first look at and participation in, a high-level international competition.  As such was the exuberance of youth, these young people moved about un-phased by the historical significance of the chapter they were, and would be writing in the steelpan history books over the next few days, just by their mere presence in Dominica.

The contenders are tender (from the very young through 16) in age, but long on ability, experience and vision.  This competition provides the participants an opportunity to see and hear what their musical counterparts have been doing in the other islands. 
 

Ms. Anna-Maria Raffoul, president of the Dominica Steelband Association & Emile Raffoul, in charge of OECS Junior Competition Instruments Logistics

This year's OECS Junior Competition has a double agenda, according to the event-organizer and spokeswoman Anna Raffoul (president of the Dominica Steelband Association).  The first is to promote cooperation and music education for the youth across the Caribbean region, and second - to completely revive the once-great steelband music tradition in the island of Dominica.  In this regard the competition is ideal, as it is a youth-oriented event that invests in the future of the steelpan instrument, its music and players in Dominica, and throughout the Caribbean.

The organizers skillfully, professionally and successfully met the challenges of the changing travel arrangements, instrument and equipment delivery delays and complications, as is characteristic with the coordination of an event of such magnitude. 
 

Dominica Steelband musicians practicing
for OECS Junior Competition

The competent team inclusive of all its coordinators, clearly had their hands full as they dealt throughout the day with numerous flight delays and other unforeseen travel-related complications.  Present at Dominica's  Melville Hall airport from 10:00 AM, the coordinators and organizers mobilized and placed on alert, a fleet of buses and trucks to provide the necessary ground transport from the airport to the hotels for the performing youths and managers.  Mrs. Denise  Hernandez, education officer for Trinidad's Pan Trinbago was on hand to provide assistance and guidance throughout the process.  Moreover, Mrs. Hernandez took a personal interest in safe-guarding the welfare of all the participating youths and shielding them for any external distractions.  She has brought a wealth of experience and commitment to the success of this event.

The interaction and continued spirit of cooperation exhibited and displayed throughout this event by the participating steelband organizations, have taught these young people valuable life-long lessons.  Moreover, it has set a precedent for future interaction between these organizations, as it is expected a number of these youths will be meeting each other many more times in different arenas and settings.  As they continue their music interest in the future, the lessons learned by the participating youth makes this event a whopping success even before the first note has been struck.

Contact the Dominica Steelband Association at: dominipan@hotmail.com

www.Dominica.panonthenet.com

- Ed -

2006 When Steel Talks - All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2006 -  Basement Recordings, Inc.   All Rights Reserved.

ANY REPRODUCTION, REPRINTING OR COPYING OF THE CONTENTS OF THIS, OR ANY OTHER MATERIAL - AUDIO, VISUAL OR TEXT - FROM THE BASEMENT RECORDINGS/WHEN STEEL TALKS/PANONTHENET WEBSITES, IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED, WITHOUT THE EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION OF THE MANAGEMENT OF WHEN STEEL TALKS.

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