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Trinidad & Tobago Panorama 2007 - HOME

Junia Regrello of Skiffle Bunch
speaks about the orchestra's ninth placing
in the Panorama semi-finals - and more...
Trinidad & Tobago Steelband Panorama 2007
 

Trinidad - When the dust cleared after the semi-final phase of the national panorama competition, figuratively speaking, in the medium and large conventional steel orchestra category, the biggest surprise - or perhaps 'shock' would be a better word - for many, was the non-inclusion of southern powerhouse Skiffle Bunch steel orchestra among the final eight large bands to vie for championship glory on February 17.  Not only is what appeared to be the 'sure shot' orchestra (going by their performance, and general consensus) out of the running and generating furious debate within the global steelpan community, but the people of Trinidad and Tobago's second largest city from where Skiffle Bunch hails - San Fernando - "are hurting very, very badly" says the orchestra's captain and city Alderman, Junia Regrello while speaking with When Steel Talks.  The band placed ninth, just outside of the finals arena.

According to Regrello, his main concern now is for the very young members of Skiffle Bunch, and what it [the official results] could do to them, along with the impact of the overall situation on the wider steelband community, especially in the southern region.  Skiffle Bunch has made it to final night for the past few years, and for 2007 had retained the very skilled and savvy Ken 'Professor' Philmore to be their arranger of the Len 'Boogsie' Sharpe composition Sharin' Licks.


Skiffle Bunch Steel Orchestra on Finals night for Panorama 2006

In the semi-finals, Skiffle Bunch received a score of 90 from judge one, 90 from judge three, and 72 from judge number two.  Regrello added that the orchestra received no negative comments from judge three, whose only feedback on his score sheet was 'well done, good.'  The band captain further stated that "we weren't criticized for anything at all by him."

For 2007 there are only three judges and all their scores count.  The previous adjudication procedure which had been in place for a number of years, was characterized by the employment of more judges, whose the highest and lowest scores were then discarded.  Of the revision in the rules, Regrello likened it to the appearance of 'a thief in the night...as it was not discussed openly.'  He did acknowledge though that Pan Trinbago, according to their constitution, had the authority to make decisions from time to time, and they did.  The revision was apparently agreed upon by the Events committee and included in the 2007 version of the rules.   Regrello is of the opinion that had the motion been moved in a general meeting, the change would not have been so easy. 

Ironically Junia Regrello caught the change and had raised concerns about the new three-judge-only system, but there seemed to be a type of apathy, a 'good for one, good for all' attitude which basically meant that there was little or no dissent.  Added to that it came to light in the usual last-minute flurry of activity surrounding the submission of band participation forms, and in the rush to meet the submission deadline, Regrello is certain that 'some people didn't even see it.'

While Skiffle Bunch may be out of the final night competition preparation frenzy, as Alderman in the San Fernando City Council, Regrello continues to be busy with his involvement in readying the Skinner Park venue for the February 17 competition.  The southern event planners will actually have the chance to preview their preparation one week prior, this Sunday February 11, when the South Steelband Showcase will unfurl at the Skinner Park venue.  About twenty-three bands including conventional orchestras and single pan bands all hailing from the south/central region, are expected to take the stage.  The event is not a competitive one, but "an opportunity [for the all the regional bands] to go out and perform and keep the [steelband] artform alive for the season...I don't think it should be called a panorama," says Regrello.***  The buzz this Sunday's event would have normally generated, had there been a large south/central orchestra band in the finals, has dwindled somewhat, though many pan lovers are still expected to attend.  Of his fellow southerners, Regrello said they may still go, though "the energy they had one week ago [just prior to the shock semi-finals results] is not there."

 

Live Exclusive follow-up Interview with Junia Regrello, captain, Skiffle Bunch Steel Orchestra

Regarding the historic upcoming national panorama finals being hosted by San Fernando for the first time ever, Regrello says that though the "feeling in San Fernando is very, very bad at this point [and] the whole city has been hurt by some poor decisions," he is adamantly "urging people to go out and support the show, because it [panorama finals] is a national event; it's all about Trinidad and Tobago, which is the bigger picture.

Contact Junia Regrello at skifflebunch@tstt.net.tt or 1 (868) 689-4990

Click here for related interview with Mayor Kenneth Ferguson of San Fernando


*** Editor's note: 
When Steel Talks subsequently spoke with Elton Bain, vice-chairman of Pan Trinbago's  South/Central region, who provided additional and updated information relevant to the upcoming South Steelband Showcase on February 11.  Slated to begin at 6:00 PM, twenty-one conventional bands and eight single-pan bands will participate in the showcase appropriately entitled 'You Be The Judge,' Bain wryly noted, this -  a 'play' upon the resultant controversy over the non-qualifying of Skiffle Bunch for the final round of competition.  Though the showcase will not be a panorama in the traditional sense of the word the bands will still compete, but for "bragging rights" rather than prize purses.  Additionally, the top three bands in both categories receive trophies.  "To level the playing field" Elton Bain told When Steel Talks, the twenty-one conventional bands are not participating in 'small, medium and large categories, but rather in groups ranging from forty to seventy players.'
 

Please check the When Steel Talks Events Calendar for latest schedule info as it comes to hand
 

 

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