Ball Dropped on Junior Panorama 2017 Steel Orchestra Finalists - Missed Opportunity to showcase Youth to Live Global Audience
“Someone” forgot to plug in the Internet
Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - It’s 8:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (9:00 a.m. local time) February 19, 2017. It’s the morning of the annual National Junior Panorama steelband competition in Trinidad and Tobago featuring steel orchestras from the primary and secondary schools, and junior steelband organizations from around the twin-island nation. Anticipation is usually high for folks around the world who cannot be physically in Trinidad, and so log on to the internet to watch and listen to these bands. It is the gathering of the largest number of the best youth steel orchestras anywhere, and they participate in their annual competition, showcasing both the awesome talent of the young pan musicians of Trinidad & Tobago, and the genius of the steelpan music instrument.
There is only one thing wrong. The Trinidad and Tobago cultural ministry forgot to ensure access to, or lacks sufficient interest in providing - an internet stream for the world to see these young musicians at their best.
It is ironic that WST (When Steel Talks) received a Facebook alert reminding us to watch the competition on Trinidad & Tobago’s ‘local’ station TV4. With a list of finalists provided by the organizers earlier in the week, WST alerted tens of thousands on the WST Network to tune in and enjoy the great performances of these musicians. The internet stream has been generally available and enjoyed by enthusiastic pan music lovers and eager supporters of the youngsters, over the past few years - certainly for the last two or three. When WST contacted the news.gov.tt people about the subsequent surprising lack of a stream, we received a message that said “Unfortunately our streaming service is currently offline. We apologize for any inconvenience.”
In an age when live-streaming options like YouTube Live and Facebook Live are readily available to virtually anyone - this missed opportunity to show the brilliance of Trinidad and Tobago youth and culture to the world is frankly unacceptable. Oh, and by the way, finding even a simple online AUDIO stream from local radio stations has proved fruitless at this point.
In 2006 When Steel Talks journeyed to Trinidad & Tobago and provided exceptional coverage (sans video) to this one-of-a-kind and vibrant youth steel orchestra competition. In the years following as online access became the norm, better coverage from Trinidad & Tobago was periodically an option. We hope that 2017’s non-availability of live online coverage does not signal a return to a complete ignoring of the Junior Panorama as per its global audience. This provides a platform as a virtual performing arts audition to colleges and performing institutions around the world, as many of these decision-making musical directors are members of the When Steel Talks network and tune in to such events. It is an excellent tool for recruiting future talent for their programs.
There is absolutely no excuse for this. Folks need to get their act together and not shortchange the young pan musicians. All ‘local’ is global now. And all things global are primarily local within a day.