When Steel Talks

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    Official Panorama 2017 preliminary large band results were released on February 6th, and like students who wrote an exam seeing themselves, their parents, relatives and friends keenly awaiting results, the anxiety comes to an end…a sigh of relief, the first is done!

     Some achievers would have passed with distinctions, some, credits and some, merely qualifying establishing a specific chosen to advance to a higher level preparing for a more intense exam.

     But while some critics note highest achievers, yearly, are from the same type of schools, record shows that these achievers gain student and revenue traction for the schools.

      And so, following the just-concluded Panorama prelims large-band exam, last year’s champ, Desperadoes Steel Orchestra, topped the qualifying list, ironically seeing on a February 7th When Steel Talks blog, Claude Gonzales asserting that, “Over the last 12 years, no band outside of the North has won Panorama,” questioning if “it’s a North band talent, or a North band bias.”

      Suffice it to say, all band members and diehard supporters, unstintingly root for their respective bands to the point where there is the belief that impartiality does not exist as it relates to adjudication, but as difficult as it is for more than half of the USA to accept Donald J Trump’s presidential style, so it is difficult to believe that Panorama judges mark fairly.

But it’s all part of human nature.

      Questions and concerns emerge, as bands advancing to the semi-final round, related marks and placings are recognized, bringing a mixture of emotions – shock, disappointment, satisfaction, sadness, anger, joy, disbelief – to manifest in various quarters.

      Money or no money, Greens or no Greens; Pan Trinbago or National Carnival Committee-led, the Panorama exams are continuing with 58 bands – 30 small, and 14 medium and large, respectively – to be appraised come February 12th.

      With the Large category viewed as the key pillar and selling pitch for Panorama, and the semi-finals on a whole, a most critical meet, arrangers are back to the drawing board.

       Revision, being objective, adjustments, some scolding, new work, motivation and improved discipline, are the core principles adopted to impressively beef-up performance and ratings during this leg.

      Respectful of the sacrifices made to satisfactorily survive to the middle and final exams more so, excel at, as similar to the academic achievers of their gruelling school exams who boost their school’s brand and financial support, the achievers of the Panorama gruelling music exams, especially at Finals, must be able to ameliorate tourism and augment revenue during the year of their success by way of being aptly recognized, well-marketed, receiving endorsements, attracting lucrative business and markets, being ambassadors for the nation and a global eminent face of the artform.

      Trinidad and Tobago, is the ‘mecca’ of pan!

      For 2017-18, how many tourists is pan to attract, and projected revenue?

A tall order the weak and visionless might think, but this assures of meaningful job opportunities as similar also, to when students succeed academically.

      This plethora of breath-taking, pronounced music presented year-after-year, during this under-rated yet potential state-of-the-art production called Panorama, underscores the need to place immeasurable value on these competitions – a branding and marketing forum where, despite whatever rumblings, challenges or adversity befall the organizers, the world anticipates, sits-up and witnesses a pan product like no other, when steel orchestras in Trinidad and Tobago take centre stage.

      Presently, the 58 semi-finalists within their categories, are readying themselves to see who will get a passing grade in their categories but equally important, persevere to the finals, making themselves automatically available to become T&T’s tourism and revenue boosters 2017-2018.     




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