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ST. PATRICK SCHOOL STEEL ORCHESTRA WINS VIRGINIA INTERNATIONAL PAN FEST COMPETITION

by ERNICE GILBERT

The Virgin Islands Consortium

ST. CROIX — The St. Patrick School Steel Orchestra are the “grand champions” of the Virginia International Pan fest (VIP) Competition held on May 13, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, announced the group on Monday. The band competed against 27 other bands from across the United States to include Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio and Ontario, Canada and prevailed victorious.

The annual competition is comprised of the elementary, high school, private studio and community band categories. The SPS Steel Orchestra entered the competition in the elementary category, according to the release. Organizers stated that the SPS Orchestra made VIP history as the first elementary band to win the overall competition, beating high school and adult bands. The band also won the elementary division with a rating of “superior” .

SPS Steel Orchestra traveled with a 23-member ensemble under the leadership of Noel C. Wynter, and Program Directors Lydia C. Davis and Sr. Claina Letang. Bruce C. Whyte was the musical arranger and prepared the orchestra for its two-selection performance of “Woman and the Bass” by  Scrutner and “Buddhoe” by Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights.

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Congratulations to St. Patrick's. Somebody is doing some great work in the V.I. I follow "Rising Stars" periodically, another great school band.

But what I want more to remark upon is the EVENT! This is the kind of thing that can develop into an international "PAN OLYMPICS" as I once talked about...

Where is Pan Trinbago in this picture? Does anyone else see the potential?

-Big Sid

On a different matter while I'm here...

A question for odw and Claude especially, the walking encyclopedias on the group, but anyone else who may be able to answer: 

Has any foreign band that you know of ever attempted Smooth's arrangement of "Curry Tabanca"? In which case, do you have a link?

Just about every foreign band has tried "Pan in A Minor". "Toco Band" is a growing favourite. A few have even tried "Woman on d bass". But "Curry Tabanca" I'm yet to see. And it is easy to see why... So I'm curious to test my hypothesis.

-Big Sid

Big Sid: I could NOT FIND any other foreign versions!!!

Same here.

Thanks guys. Appreciate the quick response.

It's what I thought. Obviously the syncopative and rhythmic demands of Curry Tabanca (Smooth's arrangement) are of a high order. But I thought NIU steelband might have tried, They're ambitious enough. And they had Liam and Cliff to help. Possibly Calypsociation might have tried also.

Anyway, the rest of the world is catching up with this art-form.

Regarding St. Patrick's accomplishment... this triumph of a primary school band reminds me of a performance I came across some time ago of a South African Primary School that did Boogsie's "Birthday Party"; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peRAGP3jU18. I looked at other foreign-band performances of this tune, and I remember thinking these primary-school kids did a better job of it than some university bands! As they say, go figure!

Re the idea of a PAN OLYMPICS... Pan Trinbago would do well to look at how the Olympics are organized world-wide, and how the World Cup is organized. Think of themselves as the FIFA of Pan. Go out to the world and negotiate with all these other country and state organizers that are putting on pan festivals all over the world.

There will come a time when the equivalent of a Pan Olympics will be a do-able and marketable proposition... Pan Trinbago as an institution (forget present personalities and incumbents) remains the natural organization to morph into a sort of FIFA of Pan. But they must reach out and do it.

My 2 cents...

-Big Sid

Big Sid, the words that people I know in the US.kicked around is Super Bowl of Pan, don't worry there are people looking to make this happen.

SuperBowl, World Cup, Olympics.... whichever, the idea is the same.

I think "Olympics" fits best because there can be different "events" (read different musical genres) and different "categories" (read different age-groups at least, especially for school bands). The Superbowl is  one event, and a head-to-head between just two (finalist) teams.

Also the Olympics is international, where the SuperBowl is just one country.

Finally, in terms of international organization you have a world Olympics Federation, and country-specific Olympic organizations.

In Pan, a similar structure is called for, with a single global body, and many local bodies around the world.

Pan Trinbago obviously sees itself as a "world governing body". But to claim it doesn't necessarily make it happen. Obviously PT cannot constrain organizers such as put on the VIP. But it certainly can take the lead in putting on a truly international event where local organizers (such as the VIP organizers) contribute. That will take a lot of organizational talent ... and vision. 

Whether PT is seized of the matter and the opportunity it represents I don't know. But perhaps they are...

-Big Sid

Big Sid, Pan Trinbago had the ICP a few years ago and still owe people money.

Well, I wouldn't weep for PT, nor for the panmen and panwomen of T&T, if the opportunity goes abegging...

I do not reflexively criticize PT nor the incumbent executive, because no one is perfect, and if one is determined to find fault in anyone, or any institution, it will be there to be found.

Perfection is not a pre-requisite for performance. I just wish that somehow PT or someone will slog through regardless and do what needs to be done.

Come to think of it, this is a T&T matter more than a PT matter. There are plenty of competent folks within T&T who can help, starting perhaps with Jack Warner (I said perfection is not a pre-requisite).

-Big Sid

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