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Invaders wins BIG for TnT at Bajan
Pan Competition

CAL Invaders on-stage at the opening of the show

From the news desk of Invaders Steel Orchestra

Invaders Captain Rudolph Williams receives winner's cheque from Barbados Prime Minister - the Hon. David Thompson

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad - June 2009:  Trinidad & Tobago’s Caribbean Airlines Invaders Steel Orchestra proudly represented its country by winning the May 31, 2009 inaugural installment of the “Pan in de Oval” competition held at the prestigious Kensington Oval in Barbados. The band won with a score of 1276 points, 126 points ahead of second-placed Digicel Pan Times from St. Lucia.

The structure of the competition was that of three rounds where orchestras from each of the four competing countries (Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, St. Lucia, and Trinidad & Tobago) had to perform a different song; a classical piece, a calypso and a non-calypso/non-classical tune of choice - for no more than eight minutes each.  The bands were also limited to having no more than thirty playing members at any given time.

The thirty-member playing contingent of Invaders players competed in each of the three rounds of competition in position number four.  From the start, they were clearly the crowd favorites as in the first round they received their first standing ovation for their rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus by G.F. Handel from the Messiah, arranged for the band by Mervin “Teach” Saunders and drilled/conducted by Dr. Jeannine Remy.  This rendition brought tears to eyes of many, including Invaders’ player/Secretary Desiree Myers who was overwhelmed by the crowd’s response.

In the second round, the band changed into vibrant multi-colored overalls and this set the tone for their next piece which was Gloria Estefan’s Conga arranged for Invaders by Len “Boogsie” Sharpe and choreographed by Arlene Frank. From the start of this piece, patrons were seen dancing in the stands as the exciting choreography caused loud cheers and applause throughout the rendition which ended with another standing ovation from the appreciative audience.

Invaders members with awards after winning

Their final competition song for the night was Baron’s Say Say arranged by Arddin Herbert. Even before the band re-emerged from their dressing room, a massive crowd was assembled in front of the Invaders stage, cheering and chanting for what was clearly the most outstanding band for the night.

This time outfitted in a T-shirt designed like the TnT national flag, Invaders were set to show why Trinidad and Tobago is the Mecca of pan. From the first note an atmosphere of excitement and jubilation developed in the Oval. Patrons had their hands high in the air - jumping, waving and singing along to another dominating performance that once again ended with a standing ovation.

Invaders made a clean sweep and won all three rounds of competition. They were presented with the awards for Best Classical, Best Calypso and Best Tune of Choice Renditions, along with the overall challenge trophy, participant’s plaque and winner’s cheque.  Digicel Pan Times of St. Lucia placed second with 1150 points, Creative Designs Karmic of Barbados placed third with 1094 points, and unbelievably copped the People’s choice award, and Cool Smooth Ebonites of Antigua & Barbuda placed fourth with 1000 points.

Invaders members with awards after winning

Pan in the Oval was produced by the Kensington Oval in collaboration with Candor Music and is expected to be the main regional pan competition.  Some of the criteria on which judges focused were arrangement, rhythmic variations, jam session, creativity, tone/colour, balance of the pans, stage presence, choreography and musical impact.

The event was enhanced with guest performances by a Bajan dance troupe and calypsonians Adonijah of Barbados, and Patrice Roberts of Trinidad and Tobago, who were all accompanied by a ‘mass band’ made up of the four competing steel orchestras.


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