Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music
Prime minister, ministers, mayors and councillors, take notice and take action. Pan camps need help. Part 1
By Aquil Arrindell
As a part of San City’s ongoing quest to positively impact lives through music, despite being unable to raise sufficient funds, our annual pan camp goes on. We ask that public, private, and corporate Trinidad reach out and support because it is programs like these that keep our children away from crime.
Two weeks of camp have passed and I’d like to share a few notable moments because during my study of music therapy at UWI, the lecturer always said, “catch them when they do good and not only when they do bad”.
The first thing that needs to be mentioned is that I no longer run the camp. The campers who started as teenagers are now young adults with the ability to teach music and manage children. They learned those skills at the prior pan camps and they are now learning the administration side of the camp. Preparing letters, communicating with potential sponsors, communicating with service providers, setting up the graduation etc. With their skills, knowledge and dedication towards community service, their involvement allows me the time to simultaneously host a pan camp in Moruga which impacts on an additional thirty of our nation’s youths.
Secondly, one of my stage-side players who had left because of her passion for dance, found herself at the camp this year giving back as our dance tutor. When band leaders lose good players to anything, it matters, because most bandleaders invest time into people to make them players to support their band. So naturally, when her father told me she was really into dance, in my mind I was somewhat disappointed. However, despite how I felt, I told her father if that was her calling, encourage her because I understand that music is part of a collective, dance, drama, visual art, film etc., hence the reason San City tries to keep these elements in our camp curriculum every year. However, because of the lack of funding which creates an inability to pay tutors, those aspects are endangered. So, thank you Lexine Lambert for stepping up.
Thirdly, one of our young tutors, a year or two ago, passed nine subjects and as a result, she enrolled into UWI. She is also the band’s youth captain. She comes from a working class home, and about three weeks ago, her family decided to buy a new car for her, mainly for the purpose of travelling to and from school. As I was driving off from pan camp one evening, I noticed in my review mirror that she was overloading. So I shouted out of my window in Trini dialect, “you carrying all ah dem?” She said to me, “well, they come and all have to reach home”. I drove off, overloaded myself, but thinking that I needed to speak to her about that. Overloading is something most band leaders do often after practice because we try to get everyone home safely and because of the distance, it is unreasonable to come back and sometimes you just cannot leave youths behind unsupervised until then. As a result, this usually leads to having suspension problems before time and in the worst case, we bandleaders would get a ticket for overloading. I am one who is guilty of that, so as I analysed the situation more, I realized she learnt that style of leadership from me. Her response was exactly what mine would have been so in that case, what can I tell her? Thank you Kenlica Boswell, it is youths like you who inspire me to keep fighting for the betterment of steel pan people as your actions are truly selfless.
Lastly, last year’s pan camp did not ……………
Aquil: This posting made me see you in a completely different light. Man, you really LOVE PAN and this whole COMMUNITY THING.
There are TENS OF THOUSANDS of RETIRED (and soon to be retired EXPATS) who dream about coming back to TRINIDAD and getting involved in PROGRAMS LIKE YOURS. A nice dream!!! But the LOCAL POLITICS dictate differently.
Ah ready to read PART II ....
Forget support from government, already there is too much dependence on them. The approach should be to forget support from the state so that pan man can see for themselves that it can be done without beggin d government. As a matter of fact, this is a great opportunity to teach this type of independence that the pan man in particular NEED to know and understand seriously.
Well, I would advise AQUIL ARRINDELL and BERTEL GITTENS to set up a PRIVATE MEETING and to get to know each other and to bounce some ideas off of each other because these TWO GENTLEMEN are two of the BIGGEST PAN LOVERS and advocates for PAN (HANDS ON) on THE ISLAND.
Thanks for jumping in MR. BERTEL GITTENS!!!
These are the ones the government should be spending money on.
Cecil: The WISE LADY ARTIST said that we are TWO GENERATIONS AWAY from what you are suggesting here. Yuh go have to live until yuh reach 110 years old to see the day when a TT GOVERNMENT will LOOK DOWN and see dedicated souls like Bertel and Aquil and call them in and say: What do you need most to keep your PROGRAMS PRODUCTIVE?
But Aquil should try to schedule a meeting with SHAMFA CUDJOE (although she in SPORTS and not in CULTURE) because she have the right idea and all the POLITICAL CONNECTIONS in the world of T&T.
However, ah still cyar buy this PAN PREVENTING CRIME STORY. But that is a different discussion ....
Thanks man, i appreciate the endorsement.
Aquil: What you are doing is fantastic. Well done.
These young ladies are the real heroes.
"Forget support from government, already there is too much dependence on them. The approach should be to forget support from the state so that pan man can see for themselves that it can be done without beggin d government. As a matter of fact, this is a great opportunity to teach this type of independence that the pan man in particular NEED to know and understand seriously." - Bertel Gittens.
I vehemently disagree with these statements, and further to that my good friend Bertel Gittens, my viewpoint is diametrically opposed to your opinion. In a nutshell, remember this is the national instrument of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago; funded by taxpayers dollars; bought lock stock and barrel every carnival to the tune of millions of dollars every year to generate,economic circus for the Republic for what exactly,..stale food and premium grade canal from Park St. HQ....GOVERNMENT has its role, but without Regulation and Oversight...will they continue to fund such an albatross, and preach to the performers ...about self sufficiency and self reliance after abysmal years of mismanagement neglect and abhorrently poor leadership to ...Bertel you cannot teach hungry people how to cook..just like you cyah teach pigs how to fly....TalkDone...