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2014 UK Panorama Championship Results - Real Steel Makes It Three Consecutive Titles!

Three-Peat for Winning Arranger Leroy Clarke!

A When Steel Talks Exclusive

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United Kingdom - Well, it’s getting to be a habit with Leroy Clarke and Real Steel, and a delightful one at that - a habit which they are surely in no hurry to break at all!  The habit?  Becoming UK Panorama champions, of course.  The Real Steel music franchise made it three titles in a row on the evening of Saturday August 23, in London’s premiere annual music competition in which Real Steel went head-to-head with five challengers to their throne.  And for yet another year, Real Steel was crowned the “Champion of Steel,” the official moniker of Panorama champs in the UK.

Additionally, champion arranger Leroy Clarke is at the business end of things, being that he is also the manager of Real Steel.  Obviously competent in both capacities, Clarke’s musical mettle was once again proven for a third successive year.  He did what could be termed a solid, textbook arrangement along classic lines, took no chances, and knew what it took to win.  He had a large steel orchestra of very good musicians at his command, with the ability to bring life to and execute - his re-visioning a.k.a. arrangement of Pan In The Atmosphere sung by The Original De Fosto Himself and written by the latter and the Mighty Jamma.

The penultimate band in the 2014 UK Panorama competition, then-defending champs Real Steel at 9:52 p.m. local time let it be known as all title-defenders do, that they were not relinquishing their title—and the chance for three Panorama championships in a row—without a battle, a musical one, that is.  Sporting black T-Shirts with the Real Steel logo in red, green and yellow, some of the musicians accessorized with white bandanas.  The steel orchestra laid down a tight, solid and engaging performance - as not only was Pan in the atmosphere, but the pan passion pumped through their veins as they directed their musical salvo at their fellow competitors.  Real Steel finished with a triumphant flourish to the unmistakable and audible delight of the audience at 10:01 p.m. - try screams of musical pleasure.

The UK Panorama began before 8:00 p.m., way later than its scheduled 6:00 p.m. start. Opening remarks included a brief set delivered by Pan Trinbago president Keith Diaz.

Metronomes Steel Orchestra at the 2014 UK Panorama
Metronomes Steel Orchestra at the 2014 UK Panorama

First band up was Metronomes Steel Orchestra, now in its 41st year of existence, and who got the show off to a great start.  There were some interesting transitions and passages by arranger Annise “Halfers” Hadeed within Bunji Garlin’s Carnival Tabanca, Metronomes’ tune of choice. It was like being in ‘lock-step’ for a lot of the musicians, who engaged in some heart-felt choreography during their performance.

The anticipation of having to keep the expected London chill at bay found almost all Metronomes players opting for blue hoodies, accompanied by white pants.  For a second year running, the group went on to place second in the Panorama competition.

Mangrove Steelband returned with arranger André White for the seventh year running.  White gave the band the count at 8:24 p.m., his tall frame eclectically clad in black ‘tails’ while band members wore white.  In front of the band while it played were some little ones having their jump-up as they happily participated in the Big People Party (tune of choice) unfolding both musically and literally, all around and within the ’Rama.  Mangrove, too, would eventually be stuck with the same result—third place—for the second year, regardless of the audience’s opinion at the rousing ending when they struck their final notes on White’s ten-minute arrangement. Mangrove Steelband was looking to return to its winning ways, having last captured the title in 2011.

As a point of note, the results for this year were the same in the first four spots, as in 2013. Only the last two bands ‘switched’ places.

By this point in the evening the waning rays of the sun were bathing both the glistening instruments of the departing Mangrove panists and the crowd in a beautiful bronze glow. And it was only mere minutes later when the sun nose-dived entirely below the horizon as pan music lovers eagerly awaited band #3, Ebony Steelband.

Len “Boogsie” Sharpe’s composition Jump High was the tune of choice for two of the six bands competing. Ebony was the first, and adopted a measured pace and deliberate delivery in showcasing arranger Samuel Du Bois’ re-working of the piece.  After their rendition, the sound of cheering throngs of Ebony supporters and music aficionados in general, joined in unison with those of the exhilarated Ebony musicians as they threw their hands up in the air at their finale at 9:06 p.m., marking the half-way point of the competition.

Croydon Steel Orchestra took the spotlight in fourth position. Silver tinsel and clusters of blue and white balloons festooned the racks while the band’s initials of ‘CSO’ loomed larger-than-life from their strategic positions above selected stands.  The players themselves were also in blue and white like first band, Metronomes, but Croydon opted instead for blue T-shirts rather than hoodies. Their musical point of entry into the competition was with Super Blue’s Spankin’ – A Tribute arranged by Arddin Herbert. Like a couple of the bands before them, Croydon’s members doubled their pleasure while in front of judges and the crowd by singing along as they played, finishing at 9:33 p.m. again to the roar of the crowds. The enthusiasm index for each steel orchestra’s showing was, as expected, extremely high in the UK Panorama.

The M.C. for the event was working almost as hard as the steel orchestras as the evening wore on; he continuously had to request that people (ultra-enthusiastic die hard pan lovers et al) ‘move out of the performance area,’ otherwise the show would not go on. And he had to be firm about it, as the message was apparently not always ‘getting through’ to some who did not seem to understand that they had to clear the way for the next steel orchestra to move into the ‘stage’ area.  And the M.C.’s tenacity in this regard was crucial given that the organizers, acutely aware both of the late start, and therefore the need to wrap things up as quickly as possible, understood the need to keep things flowing quickly for the duration.

CSI Steelband was the final band of the six steel orchestras, and the second to play Jump High. With the ‘count’ given at 10:24 p.m., this group, smaller than the others still made its musical pitch in hopes of claiming the title. Band leader and original arranger Brent Holder was enjoying himself behind a pan for a change, as the arranging reins were in the hands of Justin “Redz” Richardson who was himself just as jubilant in front of the band itself. Camouflage wear of T-Shirts and hoodies with ‘CSI’ in stark contrast on the front proudly identified the band. Their presentation came across more like that of a road band determined to eke out every bit of musical opportunity, especially with segments of the crowd dancing. CSI Steelband finished Jump High with many ‘high fives’ from band members themselves. Prevailing Panorama euphoria was evident, as the crowd chanted “CSI, CSI” for a few moments as the band tried to maneuver its way through the crowd to leave the performance area.

With those final notes struck by CSI at 10:32 p.m., people milled about expectantly awaiting results which came not long thereafter around 10:47 p.m. For those lucky enough to be on hand to witness the 2014 UK Panorama it certainly appeared to be a treat. For others, their taste of UK Panorama came via an online broadcast by Notting Hill Carnival TV, which, though distorted, still made many a pan lover happy to vicariously take it all in.  2014 marks the 50th Anniversary of Panorama in London, England. The annual competitive UK ‘Super Bowl’ of Pan is organized by BAS (British Association of Steelbands).

2014 UK Panorama Results

  Place & Points Band Tune Arranger
Real Steel 1st


Real Steel Pan In The Atmosphere

by W. Scarborough; Mighty Jamma

Real Steel arranger Leroy Clarke
Leroy Clarke




Carnival Tabanca

I. Alvarez


Annise “Halfers” Hadeed - Pan Arranger
Annise “Halfers” Hadeed

Mangrove Steelband 3rd



Big People Party

Ghostwriters Music

Ebony Steel Orchestra 4th


Ebony Steelband

Jump High

L. Sharpe; N. Rojas


Samuel Du Bois





Spankin’ - A Tribute

A. Lyons

CSI 6th


CSI Steelband

Jump High

L. Sharpe; N. Rojas

Justin “Redz” Richardson

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