Melodians Steel Orchestra
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Melodians Steel Orchestra was formed on the 22nd August 1953 out of Bellamy Street, Arima. The orchestra celebrated 60 years of existence on the 22nd August 2013.
In 1969 the orchestra was sponsored by Textile Factory Ltd and took part in its first National Panorama Competition in 1970. In 1972 the orchestra lost its sponsorship due to financial constraints.
In 1972 the band was sponsored by Colgate Ltd and again in 1982 the orchestra lost its sponsorship due to the company’s head office moving to Jamaica.
In 1985 the orchestra toured Canada.
In 1987 the orchestra toured England.
1986 – National Music Festival Semi- finals
1989 – National Junior Music Festival Semi- Finals
1991, 1992 and 1993 – National Panorama Semi- Finals
In 1995 the Orchestra was heavily assisted by Penta Paints Ltd. and placed 2nd in the East Zone, placed 8th in the national panorama and won the Arima Panorama Competition.
1996 – National Panorama Semi – Finals and won Arima Panorama
1999 – Placed 2nd in Arima Panorama
2001 – Placed 2nd in National East Zone Panorama
National Panorama Semi – Finals.
2002 – National Semi Finals, Semi – Finalists in the World Steel Band Music Festival and won the Arima Panorama
2003 – Placed 8th in the National Panorama East Zone Semi- Finals and Semi – Finalist in the National Panorama Competition.
2005 – National Panorama Semi –finals
2007 – National Panorama Semi – finals
2011 – National Panorama Semi -Finals
2012 – National Panorama Finals
Melodians Steel Orchestra may not be a band with a history of winning competitions but it is a consistent band which takes part in all major events organized by Pan Trinbago Inc. and other organizations in Trinidad and Tobago.
From the period 1953 to 2011 the Orchestra has managed to survive five captains, including the present one Henry Bernard. Melodians also managed to retain the services on some of the top pan tuners in the business, some of which include Leslie Bernard who serviced the band from 1963 to 2009 and the present being Bertram “Birch” Kelman and William “Billy” Sheeder.
Many great arrangers have also passed through the orchestra, but due to the financial difficulties of the organization and unfortunate decisions at major competitions they became frustrated and chose to move on. Since December 2009 the orchestra has managed to gain full support of one of the top and youngest arrangers in Trinidad, Tobago and the Caribbean – Amrit Samaroo. He has managed to carry the orchestra to 5th place in the finals of the 2012 National Panorama. Despite all the financial burdens encountered by Melodians, the orchestra is also blessed to have another young, budding arranger, 14-year-old Raechard Bernard, who arranged his first song in February 2008. He topped the Republic Bank Pan Minors Scholarship Program at his level in both theory and practical.
At this time the Melodians Steel Orchestra is in a transition stage within all aspects of the organization.
Despite all these changes the orchestra manages to keep functioning by holding Bar-B-Que sales, cake sales, etc. and also performing at gigs. This type of funding however can no longer sustain and maintain a steel orchestra that has already established itself in many ways.
The Melodians Steel Orchestra has been part of the cultural landscape of Trinidad and Tobago, and has developed a reputation for being a self-sufficient, tenacious and resilient group that strives for excellence.
This organization has always been committed to the development of the youth in and around the Borough of Arima as it recognizes the role that the youth of Trinidad and Tobago must play for the posterity of the country’s national instrument. As a result the Melodians Steel Orchestra has actively been a part of musical workshops in secondary schools and pan lessons after school programs and summer camps. The young people of the nation are of great value for this steel band, as close to 80 percent of the band’s core is made up of players ranging from 13 – 25 years of age.