It is now official, Duvone Stewart will take the BP Renegades Steel
Orchestra to the Savannah for Panorama 2K12. The popular Charlotte Street band
has won the national competition on nine occasions (including a hatric between
1995 and 1997) with arrangements by its former musical director, Dr Jit
Samaroo. Since Dr Samaroo’s retirement in 2007, the band has been out of the
top three placing but according to its President, Michael Marcano, is determined
to stick to its policy of using home grown arrangers. Amrit, son of Dr Samaroo,
worked on the band’s panorama arrangements in 2008 and 2009; Kenneth Guppy took
over in 2010 and 2011; now its Duvone’s turn to show what he is made of,
quipped Marcano. Amrit, Kenneth, and Duvone are all former players with the
band and together with Desmond Waithe have worked on the band’s stage-side, Pan
in the 21 Century, and Steelband Music Festival presentations since Jit's retiremeent.
Duvone Stewart hails from Tobago. He came to Trinidad at the age of
eighteenth and became a member of the Renegades Steel Orchestra. He was schooled
in music theory and practical piano from the age of six and learnt to master
the steel pan at age eight, playing with the Tobago All Stars Steel Orchestra. In
1986, he won the ‘Trinidad and Tobago Television’s 12 & Under Competition
and was awarded a trip to Disney Land. This trip motivated him to enter the Trinidad
and Tobago Steel Pan Junior Soloist Competition in 1987 where he placed fifth.
Since then, he has participated in and won several soloist competition including the Trinidad and
Tobago TeenTalent Competition, the Tobago Music Festival, and the San Fernando Music
Festival which he won four years in a row from 1989 to1992. In 1992, he also
participated in the Trinidad and Tobago School’s Music Festival as a soloist
and placed third. He followed this in 1993 with an appearance at the World Steel Pan Festival
where he placed fifth.
In1995, Stewart won the Tobago’s Scouting for Talent Competition, and Later that
year, won the Trinidad and Tobago Pan Ramajay Soloist Competition, as well as
the AVM Steel Pan Soloist Competition. The following year he placed 2nd in the
Pan Ramajay Competition and the soloist category of the ‘World Steel Pan
Festival, two competitions that he went on to win in 1998, 2000 and 2002.
Stewart started his own band, the NFM Pantasy, a six piece steel ensemble in
2000 and thus began his career as an arranger. In 2001, he arranged for the
single pan band, La Horquetta (L. H.) Pan Groove in the Trinidad and Tobago
National Panorama Competition and has since piloted them to five consecutive
Panorama titles between 2007 and 2010 (the only arranger to achieve this feat
in the history of the Competition). In 2011 he again won the competition this
time arranging for the San Juan East Side Symphony Steelband.
Duvonne has arranged for several other conventional steelbands in Trinidad and
Tobago including Merrytones, Solo Pan Knights, Our Boys Steel Orchestra. On the
international front, he has arranged for Harmony Steel Orchestra in New York,
‘Big Pan’ Pan Groove in Germany, Piton Diamond Steel Orchestra in St. Lucia and
Calypso Atlantic, and Pan de Montangac of France. He has also captured first place
twelve times at different competitions over the years.
place twelve times at different competitions over the years.