San Juan

ON A MUSICAL HIGH: A man in an inflatable raft sails above the San Juan All Stars at the National Panorama Single Pan Finals at Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain, on Saturday night. —Photo: JERMAINE CRUICKSHANK

San Juan East Side Symphony and Marsicans Steel Orchestra are joint 2020 National Panorama Single Pan champions.

The defending champs San Juan, led by arranger Carlon Harewood, finished in a dead heat with Marsicans, led by arranger Marlon White, following the finals, on Saturday evening, at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain.

The six-member adjudication panel found their respective renditions of Lord Kitchener’s (Aldwyn Roberts) “Guitar Pan” and Colleen Ella’s (Taxi) “Johnny” impossible to separate, scoring them both at 284 points.

Remarkably it was Harewood’s fifth successive single pan title. The Pan Trinbago vice-president won with San Juan earlier this year at the 2019 Carnival. He previously secured back-to-back titles with Angostura Newtown Steel Orchestra in 2017 and 2018, and won his maiden title in 2016, when he incidentally also tied with White’s Arima-based Marsicans.

The affable pan maestro said, despite his past successes, the taste of victory still remains nonetheless sweet when he spoke to the Express yesterday.

“It means a lot to me, I must say. This is my fifth in a row with three different bands and I am just grateful. It takes a lot of hard work to try to get a single pan orchestra to feel and sound like a big band, and I think we did that. Congrats to Marsicans, as well,” Harewood said.

White echoed his admiration for San Juan’s performance, calling Harewood’s arrangement “excellent”.

“I must say we are elated and blessed. I have no comment about the tie, the judges got it right, the band we tied with was excellent,” White said.

A hit and tie night

There were no fewer than four tied spots on competition night as the 21 finalists pushed the ante on creativity and showmanship.

Metro Stars, with an African safari-themed rendition of Merchant’s “Um Ba Ya Oh”, and Trinidad Nostalgic, with an emotive performance of Kitchener’s “Tribute to Spree”, finished joint tenth on 273 points.

Pan Jammers and Uni Stars, meanwhile, tied for 12th place with 271 points with Johnny King’s “Ah Want It” and Crazy’s (Edwin Ayoung) “Suck Meh Soucouyant” respectively.

Royal Pan Illusion, playing Baron’s (Timothy Watkins) “This Melody Sweet”, Chord Masters, with Preacher’s (Barney Henry) “Jump and Wave”, and T&T Prison Service, with Mac Fingal’s “Big Belly Man”, finished in a three-way-tie for 14th spot on 270 points.

A single point separated Shades in Steel (283) playing Ghetto Flex’s (Hilton Dalzell) Second Imij –now Imj & Co—1991 hit “Golo” from the joint winners. The Dante Pantin-led Vistabella band had arguably the performance of the evening.

Pantin’s mentor, BP Renegades’ Panorama-winning-arranger Duvonne Stewart, was seen leaping with excitement when the young arranger cued East Indian dancers on stage to step to intricate tassa drumming between pan strums.

T&T Police Service finished another point behind on 282 with first-time arranger Police Corporal Kern Sumerville delivering an entertaining interpretation of Kitchener’s “Mystery Band” that featured a theatrical arrest and flashing blue lights.

‘Panorama in November

a good move’

The joint champion arrangers both agreed yesterday that Pan Trinbago’s decision to move the Single Pan and Small Band National Panorama competitions out of the heat of the Carnival is proving to be the right choice. The Small Band competition begins next weekend.

“At the beginning, I wasn’t too pleased about it because I’m a Christmas person and I didn’t know how that would have affected the practice sessions, especially for the upcoming small bands. When I think it over we must accept change and change is something everyone won’t agree with, but what I notice is it allows the population to focus and pay more attention (to single pan and small bands) instead of it being lost among the large band competition,” White said.

Harewood, meanwhile, gave some insight into the technical benefits of the calendar shift.

“I think it’s good for the competition in that it gives it its own space. The music was of the highest standard because the arrangers and the players have more time. They are not rushing off to practise with big bands. I would go so far as to say it should even be moved to August during pan month,” Harewood concluded.

National Panorama Single Pan 2020 Results:

1. San Juan East Side Symphony – “Guitar Pan” – 284

Marsicans – “Johnny” – 284

3. Shades In Steel – “Golo” – 283

4. T&T Police Service – “Mystery Band” - 282

5. San Juan All Stars – “Mystery Band” – 280

6. La Famille United – “Fiery” – 277

7. T&T Fire Service – “Pan In A Minor” – 276

8. Gonzales Sheikers – “Fantastic Friday” – 274

9. Metro Stars – “Um Ba Ya Oh” – 273

Trinidad Nostalgic – “Tribute to Spree Simon” – 273

11. Platinum – “Johnny” – 272

12. Pan Jammers – “Ah Want It” – 271

Uni Stars – “Suck Meh Soucouyant” – 271

14. Royal Pan Illusion – “This Melody Sweet” – 270

Chord Masters – “Jump And Wave” – 270

T&T Prison Service – “Big Belly Man” – 270

17. La Creole Pan Groove – “Say Say” – 268

18. Brimblers – “Me Ent Fighting for No Man” – 267

19. Nostand Symphony – “Fiery” – 265

20. Woodbrook Playboyz – “Fiery” – 264

21. Pan Angels – “So Long” - 250

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