Lagos, Nigeria - The 2013 Junior National Panorama was held on Thursday 21st November at the Monarch Hall, Lekki Peninsula in Lagos, Nigeria. Initially, there were more participants this year as fourteen bands had registered for the event. However, nine bands actually participated; three backed out at the last minute for not being well prepared, one band did not show up, while the defending champions Federal Government College Lagos threw in the towel at the actual venue of the Panorama.
The competition was very stiff this year and it took judges close to one hour to get the results out. In order of their final placings, the participants were:
- Bayelsa Junior Steelpan Orchestra, Yenagoa
- Loral International School, Igbesa
- Navy Secondary School, Lagos
- St. Judes Private School, Lagos
- Dowen College, Lagos
- Corona Secondary School, Agbara
- Redeemers International School, Maryland
- Sanya Grammer School, Lagos (winners of a set of steelpans at the last panorama)
- Federal Government College Lagos (defending champions)
Corona Secondary School
In all, performing bands played three tunes. They all performed “Chop My Money” by P-Square as a test piece, along with two other selections- one of which was tagged a “joker tune”, meant to thrill the judges enough to win the competition. The last tune was tagged “surprise tune” as none of the band knew they would play three tunes. They only discovered this at the Panorama venue and had to decide on what to play.
Winning band Bayelsa Junior Steelpan Orchestra poses happily; Nigeria 2013 Panorama organizer Chief Bowie S. Bowei is in black jacket - standing third from right
This event was partly sponsored by the Bayelsa State Government, through the Bayelsa State Tourism Development Agency. The first-place winners took away the Victor Obi trophy - sponsored by Mr. Victor Obi, an ardent supporter of the steelpan movement in Nigeria. This was given to them, along with five desktop computers. The second-place winners went home with three desktop computers while those in third place were awarded two desktop computers.
Navy Secondary School Ojo at the Panorama
Prizes were also given to the best individual players of the melody, harmony, rhythm and bass parts, as well as the best drummer. Additionally the young steelpan musicians were each given a Samsung Galaxy tablet as a token of their participation. As groups, awards were given out for the best stage performance and best costume. All the awards and almost all the gifts were won by the Bayelsa team which had a landslide victory, winning with 86% while the second had 78%, and the third 77%.
As he has always done in the past, Chief Bowie S. Bowei, the organizer of the Nigeria Panorama also personally gifted bands - usually a set of steelpans to schools without instruments. This year, three sets were given out to three schools.
Chief Bowie S. Bowei (second from right) with Panomundo and Len “Boogsie” Sharpe - photo by Enddy P Sunny-Udjor
It was also a rare, multiple steelpan spotlight opportunity for the young Nigerian panists, with the presence of world-renowned steelpan music genius, performer, composer and arranger - the legendary Len “Boogsie Sharpe,” with the stage side of his champion orchestra Phase II Pan Groove in Nigeria within the same time-frame, to participate in the country's carnival. And simultaneously - on a quest of documenting the steelpan art form in several countries around the world - globe-trotting Panomundo was on site capturing highlights of it all.
Chief Bowie S. Bowei at right, with Len “Boogsie” Sharpe
With the hosting of the 2013 edition of Nigeria's annual Junior National Steelband, it has been yet another year of sterling work with the young people and steelband community overall in Nigeria for Bowei, whose energies are devoted year-round to the advancement of the art form and instrument throughout Nigeria and beyond. Look for him to return yet again in 2014, and undoubtedly with a set of fresh faces on the steelpan music scene, especially those from within Nigeria's education system.
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