Commancheros Steel Orchestra captures Grenada 2016 National Panorama Title

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St. George’s, Grenada, W.I. - A slate of nine steel orchestras vied for the title of Grenada’s national Panorama champion for 2016. Commancheros Steel Orchestra turned the musical tables on Angel Harps (who beat them into second place last year) and their seven other competitors, with their winning performance which gave them the top score of 278. From their appearance position halfway into the competition, Commancheros’ musicians apparently had what it took to peak in the Panorama, as far as the three-judge panel which consisted of Lennox London, Stephanie Power and Cuthbert Matthews, was concerned. All three are from Trinidad and Tobago. 

Commancheros Steel Orchestra at the 2016 Grenada National Panorama
Commancheros Steel Orchestra at the 2016 Grenada National Panorama

The players executed Andre Greenidge’s arrangement of Inspector’s Dance, dressed in Persian blue polo shirts, black slacks and white caps, and all sixty-five Commancheros band members made their musical might felt, thoroughly enjoying themselves along the way, and capturing their fifth championship title in the process.

New Dimension Steel Orchestra at the 2016 Grenada National Panorama
New Dimension Steel Orchestra at the 2016 Grenada National Panorama

Two former champions Angels Harps and New Dimension steel orchestras found themselves in a tie for second place, scoring 269. Interestingly, they were two of only three steelbands taking the stage with the traditional steelband covering known as canopies. Playing sixth at 9:48 p.m., New Dimension went with Salute the Band skillfully arranged by band manager and resident arranger David ‘Peck’ Edwards. Fifty-two players dressed in full white sailor uniforms, trimmed with black ties and accents on the sailor collars and sleeves, delivered a deliberate and competent performance for fans and pan music lovers on hand at the Grenada National Stadium, the event venue.

Angel Harps Steel Orchestra at the 2016 Grenada National Panorama
Angel Harps Steel Orchestra at the 2016 Grenada National Panorama

Angel Harps Steel Orchestra was next on stage doing its best to defend its title, but despite an invigorating presentation was not able to Take It for 2016, as the name of the band’s tune of choice dictated. Arranger James Clarkson delivered once more in his re-visioning of the piece, while sixty-eight musicians in white long-sleeved tees with “Take It” emblazoned in gold and wearing black bottoms dropped a highly commendable music showcase.

Florida All Stars Orchestra at the 2016 Grenada National Panorama
Florida All Stars Steel Orchestra at the 2016 Grenada National Panorama

The Panorama opened with the anthem at 7:00 p.m., one hour later than the advertised 6:00 p.m. start. First band up was Florida All Stars with their fifty-four players smartly dressed in white nautical wear, complete with caps. Jump Up arranged by Joel Joseph was their tune of choice. Band number two won its sole championship twelve years ago. It was in 2004 when Pan Wizards took the title; and this year it eluded them once again when they placed fourth. The players clothed in white gave it their best shot as they worked with music arranged by the duo of Andre Skeete and Michael “Blaize” Robertson. Their song Sparrow was a tribute to legendary calypsonian Mighty Sparrow aka the Calypso King of the World. Though having become famous performing from his home-base of Trinidad, the iconic bard is Grenadian-born.

Pan Ossia Orchestra at the 2016 Grenada National Panorama
Pan Ossia Steel Orchestra at the 2016 Grenada National Panorama

The fifty-five pan musicians of the third steel orchestra for the night were a multi-hued bunch sporting brightly-colored T-shirts, appropriately bringing to life the theme of their tune Street Party. Pan Ossia remains the youngest participant on the Grenada Panorama scene; they first competed in 2011 and placed second back then, the band’s best showing to date. They mustered fifth place this year performing their Robert K. Cadet arrangement.

Pan Lovers Orchestra at the 2016 Grenada National Panorama
Pan Lovers Steel Orchestra at the 2016 Grenada National Panorama

Of the other three competitors—Grand Roy Pan Angels, Pan Lovers, and Rainbow City All Stars—only the latter has been champion before. Rainbow City All Stars triumphed sixteen years ago in 2000. But as was the case with the seven other bands, it was not their night.

The crowd on hand did not appear very large, but those who did attend surely got their fill of Pan for several hours. The final band played their last notes around 11:23 p.m.; the nine participants came and went in fairly quick succession depending on the size of the steel orchestra. Results were announced shortly before 11:45 p.m. Of note is that the master of ceremonies engaged in banter while giving the results, to the extent that he skipped over the sixth-placed band completely, and went straight from position seven to five. There was also no information shared regarding the prizes competed for, and amounts/awards to be won in this annual music contest.

Additionally, there was no presentation of trophies or any sort of recognition done on stage. In fact, music equipment had been set up prior to the results; and when champions Commancheros were announced some of the super-excited and triumphant musicians tried to run on stage in celebration as is the tradition, but because of the equipment they were physical restrained by a stage hand, prevented from doing so and physically pushed back. Still - one Commancheros band member defiantly broke containment, ran on to the stage and proudly jumped and thrust his hand in the air repeatedly. If the stage was off-limits, perhaps event organizers would have considered setting up an area in front of the stage with spotlights for presentation of awards, rather than having the young people deprived of their moment of glory- live. Let’s see what transpires for 2017. But congratulations to all the orchestras and their players on great all-round performances.


Grenada 2016 Panorama RESULTS

Placing/
Points /
Play position
Band /
 # of Players
Selection/
Performer
Arranger /
Tuner
1st

278

( #5 )
Commancheros Steel Orchestra

65 players

Dance
(Inspector)
Andre Greenidge 
2nd

269

( #7 )
Angel Harps Steel Orchestra

68 players

Take It
(Ajamu)
Arranger
James Clark, arranger for Grenada's Angel Harps Steel Orchestra
James Clarkson

 
2nd

269

( #6 )
New Dimension Steel Orchestra

52 players

Salute The Band
(Rootsman Kelly)
Arranger
David “Peck” Edwards, arranger for New Dimension Steel Orchestra of Grenada
David “Peck” Edwards

 
Tuner
Bertram “Birch” Kelman
Bertram “Birch” Kelman
4th

257

( #2 )
Pan Wizards Steel Orchestra Sparrow
(Ajamu)
Andre Skeete &
Michael “Blaize” Robertson
5th

253

( #3 )
Pan Ossia Steel Orchestra

55 players

Street Party
(“Quako”)
Arranger
Robert K. Cadet, Sr., arranger for Grenada's Pan Ossia Steel Orchestra
Robert K. Cadet

 
6th

252

( #1 )
Florida All Stars Steel Orchestra

54 players

Jump Up
(Dee Dee)
Joel Joseph
7th

245

( #9 )
Rainbow City All Stars Steel Orchestra

55 players

Music Drums
(Oscar Alexander)
Oscar Alexander
8th

217

( #8 )
Pan Lovers Steel Orchestra

40 players

Sweetness
(Ajamu)
Ignatius Bain 
9th

210

( #4 )
Grand Roy Pan Angels

51 players

Stick The Cake
(Squeezy)
Denver Mendes 

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