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Duvone Stewart
Arranger
Our Boys Steel Orchestra
2005 T&T Panorama Season
 


 

Date: 1.14.05

At age 28, Duvone Stewart is an extremely busy and serious-minded individual.  He has made his mark on the national stage as a soloist and past champion of Pan Ramajay competitions.  Stewart is no stranger to arranging, having taken both Merrytones Steel Orchestra and La Horquetta Pan Groove to the top in the small conventional steel orchestra and single pan band competitions, respectively, in the 2004 national Panorama.   2005 finds Duvone in Tobago, the isle of his birth, arranging for Our Boys Steel Orchestra, led by Pan Trinbago president Patrick Arnold.

Our Boys has a large youth contingent, who come from one of Tobago's most well-known secondary educational institutions, Signal Hill Senior Comprehensive School.  Stewart says that the school has a Pan Academy, and that they regularly use Our Boys' instruments for their own gigs, therefore the overlap is a natural one.  This year the Tobago-based large conventional steel orchestra contender is playing Chris "Tambu" Herbert's Free Up, a hit from 1989 - the same selection chosen as Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra.  Stewart says the decision to 'go back in time' was not his, but that he is enjoying his work.  Because of this advantage, both in terms of time and his familiarity with the musical material, his initial arrangement has been finished since December. Since that time, there has been an influx of players in the band as the Panorama season heats up, and the arrangement is being augmented, enhanced and changed where necessary.

Appreciating both sides of the coin, Stewart says that while having arrangers working on previous years' selections may cause a loss in the creative process - in part because the music has been around for a longer period - there is also a plus.  With the wider population being more familiar with the older material, he sees room for greater participation as people have the opportunity to experience again crowd favorites that may not have made it to the Panorama stage because they were released too late in the seasons of their respective years.

During the year, the 2005 Our Boys' arranger is busy with his own project, a steelband ensemble of about five or six players called "Pantasy."  This group tours Asia, Europe, and North America - wherever pan is appreciated - and plays to audiences who are in awe of the instrument.  As Stewart sees it, "the Trinidad & Tobago public only appreciates pan around the festive season of Carnival.  Anything outside Carnival it's more like you're 'cursing' them, by playing pan."   Therefore, to make a living at the art form he lives for and loves, he and other dedicated musicians of Pantasy leave Trinidad and Tobago for the more appreciative audiences around the world.  In this way he is afforded that unique opportunity which eludes the majority of other Trinbago pan musicians.

For now though, Duvone Stewart is like any other fervent pan player/arranger in Trinidad and Tobago - firmly focused on the annual National Panorama competition.  His goal - winner's row, once again, this time with Our Boys firmly in tow.
When Steel Talks    

Preliminary judging is underway in pan yards through January 18. 

C. Phillips, Basement Press Corp.
2005 When Steel Talks - All Rights Reserved

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