Joint 2014 Grenada Panorama champions Commancheros Steel Orchestra and New Dimension Steel Orchestra with checks and trophy
St. George’s, Grenada, W.I. - It was double the joy early Sunday morning when defending champs New Dimension Steel Orchestra and challengers Commancheros Steel Orchestra were named joint winners in Grenada’s 2014 National Panorama. With their 2014 titles, New Dimension has now garnered eleven championships, and Commancheros, their fourth - in the Grenada National Panorama competition arena.
Commancheros Steel Orchestra play their way to a joint championship in the 2014 Grenada National Panorama
With tune of choice Soca Feeling, Commancheros played their way into the judges’ “good books” with an Andre Greenidge-arrangement of that track. They were true to the spirit of the tune, singing along at some points during their delivery. Commancheros was the last of eight steel orchestras for the evening, and it was only 11:56 p.m.—noteworthy for any Panorama!—when they struck up. Dressed in basic black, embellished with gold segments draped over their shoulders and topped off with neat little gold hats, even their “engine room” or rhythm rack was adorned with multi-colored balloons strung atop. And with the band’s 12:05 a.m. finish, Grenada’s 2014 National Panorama had gone into the history books.
The crowd was obviously “feeling the [Soca] feeling” from their response to Commancheros’ overall performance and final notes. Knocking on the door last year and making it to second place then, on this night playing in final place positioned the band to make a lasting impression on both judges and pan lovers present.
New Dimension Steel Orchestra play their way to a joint championship in the 2014 Grenada National Panorama
David “Peck” Edwards, manager of New Dimension Steel Orchestra, put on two additional hats for the 2014 Panorama season; that of composer—Save The Pan was his musical creation—along with his arranger’s hat yet again, to come up with a steelband interpretation that found favor with the judges. With wins in 2012 and 2013, New Dimension achieved in 2014, the coveted hat trick of three consecutive Panorama titles. Tastefully clothed in black pants and salmon-colored T-Shirts, topped off with black hats with salmon trim, the sixty-five-player-strong orchestra, like most bands for the night, fielded young and veteran musicians alike. For New Dimension players ran from eight through sixty years of age.
This orchestra did not take any chances. With Edwards’ signature ‘count’ followed by a cohesive introduction which gave way to a deliberate and measured pace throughout, his meticulous arrangement again demonstrated why to date David “Peck” Edwards has so many musical championships under his belt, especially when paired with New Dimension’s solid execution.
The August 9th-event reverted to the Tanteen Courts venue for the first time in several years. It was a history-making result in the Grenada Panorama, as it was the first time there was a tie for the title. At the presentation of prizes, the MC announced that a duplicate championship trophy would be made. Along with a top score of 277 points, both bands also shared the single trophy for the photo-op.
Grand Roy Pan Angels during the 2014 Grenada National Panorama
There turned out to be two “ties” for the night, which featured eight contenders for the title - those two “firsts,” and then for the final spots. Coming in seventh position and accruing 229 points each were Florida All Stars and Grand Roy Pan Angels. Ending their musical efforts around 8:38 p.m. with Sound Of The Pan arranged by David Mendes and appearing in position number one for the evening, the latter included a Pan player who might have been the oldest overall in the competition, according to reports - members of Grand Roy Pan Angels on stage ranged in ages from seven through eighty-four! This was one of the smaller groups in the competition, but members were distinctive in bright orange attire with black accentuations.
Florida All Stars Steel Orchestra during the 2014 Grenada National Panorama
Florida All Stars performed in position number five and was one of the most colorful in the line-up. Formed in 2006, the fifty-one players in this year’s Panorama were clad in candy-colored shirts – orange, red, peach, pink, blue, yellow, and shades of blue and green, complete with ties.
Pan Ossia Steel Orchestra during the 2014 Grenada National Panorama
Pan Lovers Steel Orchestra (founded in 1989), and Pan Ossia steel orchestras followed, each stating their musical case before the crowd and the judges in their allotted ten-minute musical campaigns. Established in 2010 and entering their first Panorama one year later, Pan Ossia was again the youngest steel orchestra participating in the event; they are an off-shoot of Florida All Stars. The band’s best showing was in that first year, placing second. Making a play for the title in the penultimate position this time around, their rendition of Last Attack arranged by Robert Cadet, Sr. earned them third-runner up status.
Rainbow City All Stars Steel Orchestra during the 2014 Grenada Panorama
Also brightly decked out as its name suggested was the band third on the roster of competitors. Rainbow City All Stars elected to showcase the colors of Grenada’s national flag, sporting Polo shirts in green, yellow and red, with the text ‘ALL STARS’ boldly printed down the front left side. They went on to place fifth in the competition.
Angel Harps Steel Orchestra during the 2014 Grenada National Panorama
Title hopefuls Angel Harps Steel Orchestra who had taken the stage in fourth position with seventy-three players in white, navy personnel-styled uniforms—and whose panyard is just next door to the venue—had to be content with third place. Their Panorama selection Bring Back The Old Time Jam was sung ‘live’ for he audience, while the band pulled their racks of instruments into formation on stage. Beginning its count at precisely 10:00 p.m. and with a James Clarkson-arrangement, Angel Harps were in search of another victory, their last win being in 2011. From their opening notes, Angel Harps declared what they thought to be their home-court advantage. With thirteen Panorama championships to their franchise, Angel Harps are no stranger to victory, already being the most successful band in the history of Grenada’s Panorama. They unveiled a tight, well-rehearsed, ten-minute music showcase that displayed constantly evolving themes which worked their way toward instantly recognizable ‘jams’ nearing the end, drawing cheers and applause from the audience.
Darren Sheppard, Cuthbert Matthews and Jocelyn Sealey, the judges—all three—were from Trinidad & Tobago, a fact that did not sit well at all with Grenada Steelband legend Kenneth “Teloti” Hood, who was a guest commentator during the broadcast. Speaking with host Sherma Wells, “Teloti” noted that there are qualified people in Grenada to do just that - judge their Panorama competition. He himself is a champion arranger, winning Panorama five times with City Symphony.
Allan Gaskin performs at the 2014 Grenada Panorama
In discussion with Wells, “Teloti” also regaled viewers with his memories of, and his experiences in Pan in Grenada throughout the years, for much of the competition in between the orchestras’ performances. Also impressing the crowd at intervals with his skills on Pan as the bands set up their instruments, was noted veteran musician Allan Gaskin, himself an arranger; he too briefly sat in the commentary chair during the pay-per-view broadcast hosted by the Spicemas Corporation.
The MC appeared on stage at 12:25 a.m., delivering awards and checks to the winners of the Junior National Panorama held a few days earlier. When that order of business had been completed, he announced the Panorama results for all eight steel orchestras complete with scores and respective checks were also given out to all, some twenty minutes later.
For the record, it can be noted that with the results, arranger David “Peck” Edwards continues as the most successful arranger in Grenada steelband history, now with an unsurpassed (and with no challengers in sight!) thirteen championships (eleven with New Dimension, and one each respectively with Rainbow City All Stars and City New Tones). Commancheros were last in the winner’s circle in 2007. Their arranger back then was also Andre Greenidge, who worked alongside Cecil Noel at that time.
|Placing & Points||
|New Dimension||Save The Pan|
|Commancheros||Soca Feeling||Andre Greenidge||Lloyd Gay|
|Angel Harps||Bring Back The Old Time Jam|
|Pan Ossia||Last Attack||
|Rainbow City All Stars
||My Grenada||Andy Chichester|
Don’t Take That Road
|Florida All Stars||On The Road Again
|Grand Roy Pan Angels||Sound of The Pan||David Mendes||
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