St. Lucia Panorama 2017 Results - Babonneau Steel Orchestra’s Triumphant Return with Arranger Alison Marquis - Champions!

St. Lucia flag

Castries, St. Lucia, W.I. - After a one-year hiatus, the return of Babonneau Steel Orchestra led by champion arranger Alison Marquis was a triumphant one. With a musical army seventy-nine strong and appearing in position three out of six, the band displayed its trademark musical skill set, in a presentation of a classic kaiso by St. Lucian calypsonian Herb Black called One Day’s Work

Babonneau Steel Orchestra
Babonneau Steel Orchestra

Grey slacks and ties, and grey ‘farmer browns’ paired with white shirts, were the choice of attire for the members as they deftly and with style, sashayed through their piece, ending at 11:05 p.m. on this Friday night.  Babonneau last took the National Panorama title back in 2012, but were stumped at second-place for the next three years. With this year’s triumph, the orchestra now has three Panorama titles under its belt.

The competition was broadcast by Choice TV live from The SAB (the Vigie Playing Field) in St. Lucia’s capital, Castries, which was a change in venue for the 2017 Panorama.  The Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium (known as the Beausejour Cricket Grounds prior to April 2016), had been the staging arena for Panorama for ten consecutive years.  Originally advertised to begin at 8:00 p.m., the event got underway with the country’s national anthem just after 9:30.  PanTime Steel Orchestra—the band which kept Babonneau at bay in second place for those three consecutive years (2013—2015)—competed first.

PanTime Steel Orchestra
PanTime Steel Orchestra

With seventy-six musicians all primed and ready to open up the show, Pantime Steel Orchestra dressed in all-white made their musical statement with a rousing rendition of Teddyson John’s Finally. Their long-time musical director Amrit Samaroo and champion arranger in his own right helmed the orchestra for another season. It was the second year in a row they drew appearance order number one; PanTime was judged the third-best band in the land at the end of the night by the panel of five judges, which included Gordon ‘Gene’ Leon.

Laborie Steel Orchestra
Laborie Steel Orchestra

A couple minutes before midnight, title-defenders Laborie Steel Orchestra played in the penultimate spot.  Outfitted in black three-quarter pants ensembles, highlighted with blue, yellow and white undershirts, seventy-eight players chipped onstage to take their places. Most were also adorned with blue and white feathered face masks, and all were prepared for what was a spirited delivery of Andrius Edwide’s arrangement of De Invader’s Beh Le Lesh from 2001. Unable to hold on to the championship, Laborie scored 295 points for second place.

Survivor's Steel Orchestra
Survivor’s Steel Orchestra

Arthur Allain’s Numb was the tune of choice for Survivor’s Steel Orchestra which was the second band on stage performing for music lovers gathered for the competition.  Arranger Shayin Flavius ensured the forty-five band members had a competent and measured arrangement as they methodically tossed their hat in the musical ring for Panorama 2017 around 10:12 p.m.

Pantastic Muzik Steel Orchestra
Pantastic Muzik Steel Orchestra

At 11:25 p.m. band leader Krystal Nestor again demonstrated her musical chops as the sole female arranger in the Panorama, with Pantastic Muzik Steel Orchestra in position four.  They were one of two orchestras going with compositions by calypsonian De Invader, with Vavoom being the song opted for.  Dapper hats complemented lilac and white tie-dyed tops and white slacks for the forty players who filled out the ranks of Pantastic Muzik - who also finished fourth in the competition.

Emerald Steel Orchestra
Emerald Steel Orchestra

Wearing three hats was Guy Innocent as he led his band to the Panorama.  Band leader, manager and arranger all-in-one, Emerald Steel Orchestra was the final band and also the smallest for the night with thirty-three members. Innocent directed his youngsters to their places behind their instruments, and himself sat up front and performed with the band. Dressed in green and white, Emerald Steel Orchestra were real troupers as they doggedly played on when, about half-way through, the rain opened up and literally poured over them - and they had no canopies. As expected, they finished up their selection What the People Chanting popularized by the late “Get Through” - without missing a beat.

St. Lucia's 2017 Pan Ramajay/ Pan Shoot-Out unfolding - left to right: Manasa Edward, Aaron Smith, Akram Best and Shakir Lubin
St. Lucia’s 2017 Pan Ramajay/ Pan Shoot-Out unfolding - left to right: Manasa Edward, Aaron Smith, Akram Best and Shakir Lubin

With the changeover time from one band to another, the competitive phase itself ended at 12:35 a.m.  However pan lovers had an additional treat coming their way, in the form of what was billed as the ‘“Pan” Andrew Pan Shoot-Out/Pan Ramajay’ sponsored by the family of the late St. Lucian steelband icon Augustus “Pan” Andrew. 

Manasa Edward
Manasa Edward

On a stage still wet and glistening from the rainfall shortly before, four panists - Shakir Lubin, Akram Best, Aaron Smith and Manasa Edward each had, literally, a 45-second window to show-off their musical skills relative to a test-piece played by the house D.J.  Then, their second and final opportunity followed immediately with a ‘call-and-response’ style play-off amongst themselves.  At the end, Manasa Edward successfully defended his title scoring 388 points, and received his trophy from the wife and son of the late Augustus “Pan” Andrew.



CEO Thomas Leonce presents 2nd-place trophy
CEO Thomas Leonce presents 2nd-place trophy to Laborie Steel representative

Finally came the moment everyone was waiting for, the 2017 Panorama results. After announcing positions four through six, trophies were given out to the top three bands, with CEO of the Events Company of Saint Lucia Thomas Leonce presenting the second-place trophy to the Laborie Steel Orchestra representative. Perhaps predictably, Leonce was only able to do so after Babonneau players—who knew by default they had won and prematurely swarmed the stage—were persuaded to move off, and await their moment. 

And then, it came - the presentation for the new 2017 Panorama champions, with the large group of happy musicians and supporters tightly thronged around the trophy for pictures.  By 1:30 a.m. the results were done, and another St. Lucia National Panorama went into the history books.

2017 Panorama champs Babonneau Steel Orchestra on stage with trophy
2017 Panorama champs Babonneau Steel Orchestra on stage with trophy

2017 Panorama Results - St. Lucia

Placing/
Points
Band / Size Selection/
Performer
Arranger
1st
335
Babonneau Steel Orchestra
79 players
One Day’s Work 
(Herb Black)

Alison Marquis
Alison Marquis
 
2nd
295
Laborie Steel Orchestra
78 players
Beh Le Lesh   (2001)
(De Invader)

Andrius Edwide
Andrius Edwide
 
3rd
291
PanTime Steel Orchestra
76 players
Finally   (2017)
(Teddyson John)
Amrit Samaroo
Amrit Samaroo
 
4th
256
Pantastik Muzik Steel Orchestra
40 players
Vavoom
(De Invader)
 
Krystal Nestor
Krystal Nestor
 
5th
252 
Survivor’s Steel Orchestra
45 players
Numb   (2014)
(Arthur Allain)
 

Shayvin Flavius

Shayin Flavius
 
6th
204 
Emerald Steel Orchestra
33 players
What the People Chanting   (1982)
(“Get Through”)

Guy Innocent
Guy Innocent
 
 

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