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Where is Panorama at 50 years?

Sandra L. Blood

Republished at the request of, provided by and with the expressed permission of - the Author

Trinidad and Tobago - The track was prepared; the stage lights signaled…on your marks, set…and having cued fifty single to small, fourteen medium and seventeen large steelbands respectively, to compete in the semi-final round of this, our Golden Jubilee Panorama competition, the Panorama pistol was shot off on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th.

In great anticipation of the winner of the big guns, gauging from the placement of the ten moving through to the final stretch, stakes are high… they have begun to reel in big bets.

Main power horses in the race

Phase II Pan Groove on stage for Panorama semi-finals 2013
Phase II Pan Groove on stage for semi-finals

With congratulations extended to Phase II having won the semi-final leg of the race, intense concentration is still placed on the three main power horses dominating the Panorama world to date…All Stars: the current champion that runs third to the most first-place titles, eight. Desperadoes: the only band with the most first-place titles, 10, and Renegades: the only large band that holds the hat-trick and runs second to the most first-place titles, nine.

Enhancing quality

In the attempt to win the coveted prize, arrangers are pulling out all the stops. All ten qualifying competitors take heed of the judges’ comments…working towards enhancing the quality of their particular piece for the final-yard stretch on February 9th.

A marred 50th-year history

This year’s Panorama competition is considered a prestigious and historic one given its 50-year milestone, but to become marred speaks to the semi-final round not having been televised live, with Single and Small bands subjected to perform to whom besides judges on the Saturday?

Adding insult to injury, while Sunday’s large-band competition was in progress, a 7:00 p.m. television newscast reports the president of Pan Trinbago as citing failed negotiations between his office and a television station, blaming the particular station’s head for “not understanding” the way in which the ‘thing’ goes...” with the other stations “not interested in the culture”, while in separate interview, the ‘head’ blames Pan Trinbago.

Whichever which way, thus far, this is certainly not the quality of history, reputation and brand to be proud of.

Poor skills-set

In the real business world, this faux pas is viewed as proactivity, planning, communication, management, budgeting, promotion and marketing disciplines gone wrong. It’s disrespect to panorama pointing the weekend to a Pandora box.

Is Pan Trinbago, therefore, now required to pay a private agent to acquire this semi-final product for archiving? When should television broadcast negotiations begin?  If one wants to broadcast their product, who should pay for it? What is the correct procedure?

Climaxing with other burning questions

Lingering in the minds of the pan enthusiasts are other burning questions as the race climaxes: What is this Panorama milestone first prize? How many notches up will pan move following this era, given the next 50-year short to medium-term plan? When would we see an indication from the organizers characterizing a 50th Anniversary? Would the track be beautifully adorned? Will the stage or stands be?

Is there a 2013 National Panorama Golden Jubilee Best Seller available…a signature T-shirt, perhaps?

Memorabilia, memorializing

Apart from steelbands having been exposed globally over the 50-year period and prior to, upon their visit to the ‘mecca of pan’ in the 1990s, 2009 and 2011, respectively, presented with a tenor pan each - were the Prince of Wales, Prince Phillip; the 44th President of the United States of America, Barack Obama and,  Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge.

What higher prominence can we align pan with apart from the head of an African state in recognizing pan’s relation with the Diaspora?

One wonders, now, what Golden Jubilee memorabilia will they be receiving or, how is either one being called upon to help us glorify and memorialize this auspicious occasion in the ‘mecca’…perhaps, an emailed or Skyped speech for our history slate? A ‘VVIP’ section in the Grand Stand, regally prepared to host them or representatives of related missions in Trinidad on the final-night competition?

What about the most distinguished one presenting the winner with their prize on the final night? Or, will Pan Trinbago be launching its first steelpan store where music of performance ensembles can be purchased?

Failing the panists, what Golden Jubilee memorabilia are the spectators taking away from this season as a keep-sake?

This 2013 Panorama Golden Jubilee is taking pan where?


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