Sound Specialists of Laventille Steel Orchestra
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Specialists... as the band is affectionately called is indeed a special band and its members genuine 'Specialists' at their trade. The band's growth over the years has been nothing less than phenomenal. It is the only band to have moved from the Traditional/Single-Pan category to Conventional and successfully compete in that category by winning a major Panorama competition. With humble beginnings in the district of Eastern Quarry in Laventille, the band began as a Traditional/Single-Pan band.
Laventille has produced many a top steelband. They include Desperadoes, Highlanders, Savoys and in 1975 Sound Specialists from the Eastern Quarry area. The nearby Tokyo was the band to which Sound Specialists owe its birth, since many of the original players in Sound Specialists which started out as a traditional band came from Tokyo.
In the competitive arena, Sound Specialists first incursion was in 1976 when the band took part in the annual Guardian Newspapers contest. This competition was held however not at the St. Vincent Street Car Park as at present but at the grounds of the West Indian Tobacco at Champ Fleurs. The tune selected was "Flag Woman" by Kitchener and this was the Road March of the year.
The band gained sponsorship from Readymix Limited in 1977 and as Pan Trinbago started a competition called "Pan around-de-neck" now name "Jump Judges Jump" by Shadow. The band now improving leaps and bounds qualified for the semi-finals.
By 1980 the band had improved to such an extent that they placed 4th in the Finals of Panorama. The days of being a Traditional band were numbered so that when "Pan is Beautiful too" came about in 1980 the band had been converted into a conventional one.
In 1983 Sound Specialists lost its sponsor Ready mix due to financial constraints and did not participate in the subsequent two Pan is Beautiful series in 1984 and 1986. By 1988 the band reappeared. There was no Music Festival in 1990 due to the attempted Coup in July of that year. However, in December 1990 for the first time a competition was held entitled Pan Parang. It was held in the Arima Velodrome. Sound Specialists won the contest in the category for Conventional Band. The band played "A Trini Christmas" and emerged with 702 points.
In 1992 Courts Furnishings (Trinidad) Limited sponsored the band. The band pleased their new sponsors by reaching the finals of that year's festival with a performance Gustav Holst "Jupiter" and Superblue's "Get something and wave". The band has made every Music Festival Finals since, so when Pan Trinbago stated the Trinidad and Tobago leg of the World Steelband Music Festival, Courts Laventille Sound Specialists was confident that they would have qualified, and after performing John William's "Throne Room" and "End Titles" and Len "Boogsie" Sharpe's "Clear De Way" the band placed sixth.
A re-branding of the band took place in 2004 and they are now known as the Courts Sound Specialists of Laventille. This Orchestra continues to thrill many with their music and has been outstanding with their J’Ouvert Bomb presentations and at the Laventille Steelband Festival. The year 2004 saw them placing fifth in the Medium category of the National Panorama Finals. In 2004 they qualified as one of Trinidad and Tobago's representatives to the finals of the World Steelband Music Festival.
The band was a semi – finalist at this year's (2005) National Panorama competition and was the winner of the J’Ouvert Bomb Competition in the classical category. At the 2005 T.S.T.T. Pan in the 21st Century Competition they placed third with a breathtaking rendition of "Morning Dance". --In June of this year Sound Specialists of Laventille placed 4th in the World Steelband Music Festival at Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, New York, USA.
2006 – A time of growth for Sound Specialists of Laventille where the Finals of the National Panorama saw the band placed 2nd in the Medium category. This showed that Courts Sound Specialists of Laventille was taking on the mantle of being a great Laventille Steel Orchestra.
In 2009 the band placed 3rd in the Panorama competition and 10th in the T.S.T.T. Pan in the 21st Century competition. 2010 the band placed 2nd in the Panorama competition and 6th in the B mobile Pan in the 21st Century competition. Panorama 2011 and 2012 the band placed 4th and 3rd respectively.
The band has gone from strength to strength and by its enthusiasm and commitment will in the near future accomplish its ultimate aim to win the National and World Steelband Music Festival titles as well be one of the best Steel Orchestras in the world.