Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music
(Sandra Blood writes on the humbling of Renegades)
Renegades extends congratulations to the bands that are cited to perform at Panorama finals come Saturday 5th February, while at the same time, thinks it fitting to addresses the unfortunate circumstance that skewed the judges ability to properly hear its rendition.
On Thursday February 10, five days before Panorama preliminaries, a feature “Renegades coming ready, deadly and lethal” graced pages B12 and B13, respectively, of the Guardian newspaper. On Sunday February 20, however, following their performance at the semi-finals, six adjudicators – Bernadette Roberts, Lennox London, Lambert Philip, Richard Pierre, Corinne Soo Ping Chow, and alternate judge, Damian Phillip – concluded that the band may have been lethal….but certainly not ready.
This we know from their remarks and, clearly, from the points they awarded the band.
How can five days prior to, in the preliminary leg of the competition, a tune appealed to judges, heard “clean and precise”, and on the internet as well, subsequently, further rehearsed and drilled to precision, and five days after at semi-finals, all fell down?
“Let’s hear it for band No.1 appearing in the large band category…bp Renegades,” declared the house announcer, readying the banner holders, followed by the Renegades players and supporters, and racks for the pans, to the sound of “How We Coming”, blasting from the house DJ.
Then the time to perform shortly came when a constant announcement soared through the air, requesting “the music in the North Stand to be stopped.” But no matter how repeatedly or forcefully the announcer urged, the music just continued.
A group of passionate people all warmed up, excited, confident and raring to go, to deliver a solid, acutely laid-down, well-rehearsed piece of music on a stage, where the “world governing body for pan” is hosting a prestigious competition, but they are subjected to getting cold and deflated, as the call to stop the North Stand music seems never-ending, and never heeded.
At that point, after a few minutes of the tiresome, irritating announcement, the now-confused performers-to-be, waiting in cue to take their bow, and the supporters and other spectators, have become uneasy and concerned, fully focusing on the northern side of the stage.
Players who were facing the Grand Stand, turned around and faced the North Stand wondering whether or not the DJ over yonder wasn’t hearing the announcement, or if they weren’t seeing a band was ready to perform. Meanwhile, the spectators and supporters on the western end of the stage began shouting, drawing police presence.
Some players were muttering: “But what is this, where d police across there to maintain order?” “Where d Pan Trinbago management team”? “It seems as though they want to frustrate us”!
The players—in their minds, and spirits – what is happening at this point in time?
We are in a quandary as to whether or not this beautiful masterpiece is ever going to be heard any time soon in the manner in which it was rehearsed – to precision.
You may have performed on a stage in the Panorama arena for over 30 years; you may have performed on TV, and to other types of audiences in many countries. No matter how frequently you do it, when the big Port of Spain Panorama moment comes, the ‘psyche’ is built up; the butterflies are tearing at the stomach, yet you remain focused on what is to be delivered and accomplished. But the environment must be reasonably conducive.
That is to say, you come with the understanding that the place of performance is ready to receive, hear, and see you. And where music is concerned, there must be no delays; relative peace and quiet, nothing seriously to disrupt your comfort level.
Should the listeners – including the adjudicators – have heard anything less than a perfect performance, how would they know it’s not a result of the ripple effect of the pre-performance commotion compounded by the constant flow of music in-between the performance? The disturbance of the mind and spirit caused by some audacious DJ/s, some selfish people who evidently lacked respect and discipline; some person or people who do not really care about the art form or what is happening on stage? People who had spent more than $300 just to come and “lime”?
What an insult to the performers, and integrity of the show by extension!
Weren’t they aware a serious musical competition was in progress?
Clearly not, for they had secured position behind the stands--on “the greens”, oblivious to, or uncaring about, what’s transpiring in front of the massive stands.
Who is to be held accountable for the mental, spiritual and psychological disruption that caused Renegades’ demise pushing them to 13th place? What do the relevant authorities have to say for the breach of integrity of their show?
Other big bands encountered delays of their own doing as their supporters refused to clear the stage, but not delays as lengthy as that endured by Renegades’, and the inconsiderate playing of music was curtailed.
Taking what transpired, and all of the above into account, I think the honourable thing to do is to allow Renegades to be judged for the finals. For they have been dealt a blow undeserving to them, arising out of the blatant lack of regard of some patrons of the show…because Renegades is Ready!
Sandra L Blood played seven-bass with Renegades at Panorama semis, and played nine-bass over decades before.