There will be no holding back from steelbands at the National Panorama semi-final on Sunday, at Carnival City, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain.
That was the word from two large-band title contenders, following a week of preliminary panyard judging.
Sixteen medium and 17 large bands have advanced to Sunday’s semi-final. They will now go head-to-head for a spot in the National Panorama final on Carnival Saturday.
Manager of Exodus Steel Orchestra, Ainsworth Mohammed said with competition so tight, the St Augustine band cannot afford to “hold back” anything for the Carnival Saturday final.
“Every stage of the competition is critical and nothing is held back for the ‘next’ one,” Mohammed told the Express yesterday.
Supernovas Steel Orchestra ace arranger Amrit Samaroo echoed Mohammed’s philosophy, saying his band will also be leaving nothing to chance when they face the judges.
“We take every round as a final. The semi-final is a stepping stone to the final. We await the feedback from the judges to see what they have on the scoresheets to see how we could improve on the marks,” Samaroo said.
Panyard vibes nice
Exodus and Supernovas both attracted traffic-blocking crowds to their respective Eastern Main Road and Lopinot camps on Tuesday evening for panyard preliminary judging.
There was standing room only at the Exodus amphitheatre as a large, enthusiastic crowd occupied every inch of the concrete seating a full hour before the judges’ scheduled 8 p.m. arrival. With a fully stocked bar and souse, geera meats, and roasted and boiled corn aplenty, they had more than enough distractions to pass the time.
It proved well worth the wait. Terrance “BJ” Marcelle’s arrangement of Kees Dieffenthaller and Voice’s (Aaron St Louis) “Dear Promoter” earned Exodus 270 points and the top spot in the preliminary round.
Up Lopinot, a later judging time of 9 p.m. didn’t deter the entire community from clogging the roadway in support of their band. Supernovas also chose to play “Dear Promoter” for the judges. They finished joint fifth with Len “Boogsie” Sharpe’s Phase II Pan Groove on 267 points.
“We felt good. We know there is some work to go in still. We’re quietly confident, but working on what we have to work on,” Samaroo said yesterday.
The Supernovas arranger, son of legendary BP Renegades arranger Jit Samaroo, said having full community support means everything to his band.
“The support is always necessary, needed and wanted. We are a community band operating in the small community we are in, but we also touch other communities like lower Lopinot, Arouca and up and down the East-West Corridor. We appreciate all the support we got (on Tuesday night). It was really a nice atmosphere,” he concluded.
BP Renegades, in search of their second National Panorama hat-trick, will be the band on everyone’s radar on Sunday. The Duvone Stewart-led, Charlotte Street musical outfit finished half a point behind Exodus, with their rendition of Skinny Banton’s “Wrong Again”.
Courts Sound Specialists will meanwhile be looking to hold on to their slender lead in the medium band category. Led by Seion Gomez, the band topped the prelims with Plain Clothes (Clinton Moreau) “Ah Feelin to Rock”.
The Laventille-based band is being hounded by Curepe Scherzando, playing Farmer Nappy’s (Daryl Henry) “My House” and Katzenjammers playing Merchant’s (Dennis Williams Franklyn) “Caribbean Connection”. Both bands finished a point behind on 269 points.
National Panorama semi-finalists
1. Courts Sound Specialists of Laventille—“Ah Feelin’ to Rock”—270
2. Curepe Scherzando—“My House”—269
4. Siparia Deltones—“Festival Song”—268
5. Pan Elders—“Whoa Donkey”—266
Potential Symphony—“All Dem Tobago Gyul”—265
Carib Dixieland—“Dis Party Is It”—265
9. Hatters—“Trouble In The Morning”—263
11. Tornadoes—“All Dem Tobago Gyul”—262
12. NCC Couva Joylanders—“Is My Turn”—261
13. NGC Steel Xplosion—“Soca Global”—260
14. Sangre Grande Cordettes—“Breakaway”—259
Trinidad Valley Harps—“De Party Now Start”—259
San City Steel Symphony—“Dear Promoter”—259
1. Republic Bank Exodus—“Dear Promoter”—274
2. BP Renegades—“Wrong Again”—273.5
3. Desperadoes—“More Sokah”—269
4. Invaders—“Feelin’ It”—268
5. Phase II Pan Groove—“Twenty 20 Vision”—267
7. Trinidad All Stars—“More Sokah”—266
8. RBC Redemption Sound Setters—“Wrong Again”—264
9. Skiffle Bunch—“Wrong Again”—263
10. Birdsong—“More Sokah”—261
12. Buccooners—“Feelin’ It”—260
13. La Brea Nightingales—“Feelin’ It”—259
14. Angel Harps—“More Sokah”—259