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When Steel Talks - Special - Post-Trinidad and Tobago Steelband Panorama 2005

           Date: 2.21.05

Post Panorama

Arddin Herbert
Invaders Steel Orchestra
2005 T&T Panorama Season


Arddin Herbert did himself and Invaders Steel Orchestra proud at the Panorama finals for the 2005 season in Trinidad and Tobago, taking the Woodbrook-based band to fifth place out of a field of eight steel orchestras.  It has been sometime since Invaders had made it to this stage of the competition.  Chatting with When Steel Talks Herbert describes his experience with Invaders as thrilling but challenging, and he "thoroughly enjoyed every second of it."  For the arranger, it is a bittersweet experience now that the pressures of the season are over, as he reflected on the friendships made and the relationships formed during the experience.  He extended congratulations to Phase 2 Pan Groove for capturing the 2005 Panorama championship title, and went on to praise everyone connected with the art form for their perseverance regarding the culture of Pan. 

There was a more structured approach in Herbert's arranging style in regard to his stint with Invaders in Trinidad, because he did not have "the luxury of time" and  to create "out of the actual mood in the pan yard and pan yard environment."  Commitments to his regular work schedule in the US prevented him from being in Trinidad for the entire pan season.   On the initial weekends that he flew down to Trinidad, he communicated music "prepared from within" to Invaders. 

In the preliminary rounds the steel orchestra was eleventh, then moved up to seventh after the semis, and finally to fifth position in the Panorama finals.  Interestingly enough, Herbert says that while he was mindful of judges' comments on score sheets, he had never been one to structure his music solely around their views.  The arranger credits the creativity, talent and dedication of the musicians, and the relationship between himself, band management and the pan players for the progressive strides made by the band within the competition.

This was so much the case that the players themselves were very happy in terms of their performance and how they executed their music on stage on finals night.  The ecstasy on their accomplishment on reaching the final round of competition was such that their ultimate position was not a main issue.  Herbert was also very pleased with their presentation.

Herbert is one of the arrangers who actually plays with his steel orchestra on stage, unlike ace pannist Boogsie Sharpe of Phase 2 Pan Groove, who concentrates on perfecting the mammoth audio presentation on stage by conducting the band.  According to Herbert he "always likes to perform his own music," laughingly adding that "if I can't enjoy my own music, I can't expect anyone else to."  He says that he brings a certain sense of energy with him when he performs, and that is transferred to the players.

Extending thanks for the support of New York pannists who traveled to Trinidad to join Invaders, Herbert said that it was heartwarming that pan players took it upon themselves and decided that "wherever Arddin was going they would certainly support him."  He noted that they blended well within the Invaders' structure - "everything was just right, just right" says Herbert.

Next up for Herbert is a return to Trinidad to work with Invaders for the upcoming Pan In The 21st Century event in April.  Also engaging his attention is his work toward his doctoral degree at the University of Phoenix, and work with his own band in New York, CASYM Steel Orchestra.  Asked about his final thoughts on the Panorama season, among other things, Herbert noted that the standard was extremely high, but like his peers, believed that there was room for improvement in the management of the event, as well as its judging component.


Invaders Steel Orchestra On Panorama Night

C. Phillips, Basement Press Corp.

2005 When Steel Talks - All Rights Reserved

Pictures at Panorama Finals

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