Kingstown, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, W.I. - Five in a row! Holding fast to the National Steelband Panorama title are 2013 champions Sion Hill Euphonium Steel Orchestra, with arranger Seion Gomez. Runners-up and main challengers Starlift Steel Orchestra were again disappointed after the results were announced at 1:30 a.m. earlier today at Victoria Park. South East Steel Orchestra who were not in the top three in 2012 snagged third place in the musical battle.
Many weeks of diligent music practice for hundreds of steelpan musicians culminated in the 2013 National Panorama competition in Saint Vincent & the Grenadines on July 5th, which, incidentally was also the date for the 2012 event. Billed as “Steel and Glitter,” a combination of the steelband panorama and mas band showcase for Carnival, the Panorama component fielding seven steel orchestras got off to a late start, with Symphonix Steel Orchestra the first band opening up at 8:55 p.m. at the Victoria Park venue in the country’s capital of Kingstown. Symphonix came into being through the country’s Pan Against Crime program, and still has a junior representation within the community orchestra segment of the annual Junior Pan Fest.
Georgetown All Stars, another band whose genesis also lies within Pan Against Crime and which has also competed in the Junior Pan Fest, was up next. Thirty-five players proudly showed off their musical mettle with their rendition of “Jam Me.”
Playing third was South East Steel Orchestra, returning to the folds of the country’s senior panorama, and the third band for the evening emanating from Pan Against Crime. South East Steel Orchestra stepped up to the musical plate with Trinbagonian Barry Mannette, the band’s first outing with him as arranger. The orchestra played up a veritable storm with Mannette’s interpretation of Winston Soso’s “Panyard” — at the end of which there was a roaring response from the small but energized crowd as they delivered their referendum on South East’s performance.
Exactly one hour after the first notes had been struck by Symphonix, band number four – Potential Steel Orchestra (established in 1980) – had the judges’ ears and their turn at the 2013 Panorama championship, with forty-three players dressed in colored jackets. Their tune of choice was Touch’s “No.”
Elite Steel Orchestra, one of the smaller bands in the competition ensured that they were not discounted, playing 2012’s “Saga Boy” popularized by Bomani as they contended in the 2013 national Panorama event in position five. With around twenty-five pan players glittering in gold and white, 10:20 p.m. saw the band state their musical case.
Defending champions Sion Hill Steel Orchestra who were “fresh” off four consecutive St. Vincent & the Grenadines National Panorama titles (2009-2012) followed, with instruments tuned by Sherwin Pierre. Interestingly, the band’s captain Tillal Webb appears to have also arranged for Georgetown All Stars which competed earlier in second position. With resident champion arranger Seion Gomez’s (also from Trinidad & Tobago) vision of “I’m Yours” to unveil, it was 10:48 p.m. when the orchestra, seventy-five musicians dazzling in all white, began their “count.”
Starlift Steel Orchestra, the band which poses a significant challenge to Sion Hill each year and which placed second in 2012, were in the final competitive berth for the night. Playing seventh with seventy-two steel panists, they were striking in rainbow colored tops and white bottoms as they delivered Exodus’s “King of the Road” as arranged by Kingsley Roberts, and performed on steelpan instruments tuned by legendary steelpan tuner and esteemed performer himself, veteran Bertram “Birch” Kelman. Starlift wrapped up the Panorama competition at 11:25 p.m.
Judges for the Panorama included Junior Sutherland, Joffre Venner, Jennifer Glasgow-Brown, Gregory Piper of St. Lucia and Grenada’s James Clarkson. To reach their decisions, judges took into account and ascribed scores out of a possible total of one hundred, with Arrangement accounting for 40 points, so too General Performance, while Tone and Rhythm carried a maximum 10 points each.
The “Glitter” segment of “Steel and Glitter” followed and by 12:20 a.m. the representations of eleven 2013 carnival mas bands had crossed the stage for the by-now larger crowd on hand. Special performances by the band Touch and more entertained the Victoria Park crowd as they awaited the results for both components of “Steel and Glitter” which were subsequently announced at 1:30 a.m. And, uhm, for another year - only results for the top-placing steel orchestras were disclosed. Both NBC Radio SVG and Star 98.3 FM broadcast the entire event, though once again there were quality issues, with Star 98.3’s feed subject to distortion throughout.
2013 Panorama Results - St. Vincent & the Grenadines
|Placing||Band||Selection / Performer||
|1st||Sion Hill Euphonium Steel Orchestra||I’m Yours (Man Age)|
|2nd||Starlift Steel Orchestra||King of the Road (Exodus)|
|3rd||South East Steel Orchestra||Panyard (Winston Soso)|
Remaining competitors listed in alphabetical order
|--||Elite Steel Orchestra||Saga Boy (Bomani)||
Kesslon “Tafa” Wilson
|--||Georgetown All Stars Steel Orchestra||Jam Me (Tajoe)||
|--||Potential Steel Orchestra||No (Touch)||
Johnny “JP” Pompey
|Symphonix Steel Orchestra||Vincy Style in July (Clymax)||
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