Lydian awards for choir’s
pan music festival winners

October 30, 2000

MEMBERS of Pat Bishop’s Lydian Singers and Lydian Steel met at the Bishop Anstey High School hall on Friday night for a special celebration of those group members who won prizes at the recently-concluded World Steelband Festival.

Six plaques, designed by Pat’s sister, Gillian Bishop and executed by The Signature Collection, were distributed to Lydians who doubled as members of support staff or players with TCL Group Skiffle Bunch, the band that emerged triumphant.

Skiffle Bunch manager, Junia Regrello, received a special award on behalf of his band.

Bishop, in addressing the gathering, described Regrello as adventurous. “He had a little pan round the neck band in 1990, when he first approached me to help him. He actually wanted a song composed for his band in the music festival of that year.

“It was then we all experienced another level of genius from Len ‘Boogsie’ Sharpe, who immediately fell to the composition of a piece called ‘Dance of the Douens’. Of course, Skiffle Bunch won their category.

“But what was more important, is that we developed a relationship that has lasted well, indeed long enough to lead us to send the team of Ben Jackson and Kareem Brown to San Fernando this year, to help Skiffle Bunch handle another Boogsie composition, ‘Rain Forest’. Of course, they won that contest too.”

Jackson and Brown were also presented with plaques. In addition, Lydian (and Exodus Steel Orchestra) pannist Sophia Titus, who came out of the World Steelband Festival as the top soloist, was awarded and applauded.

And Jesus Acosta, who conducted Exodus on the final night (replacing Desmond Waithe), to take the band up from seventh position at the start of the final to third position at the end, was also cheered and given a similar plaque.

The plaques read “To (named recipient): The Lydian Players offer heartfelt congratulations on your success at the World Steelband Music Festival. We are so very proud of you.”

The evening also doubled as the launch of the Lydians yet unnamed Christmas Concert.

“We are among those who think that the 21st Century will not begin until midnight of December 31 this year,” Bishop said. “As a consequence, we are beginning the new millennium with a kind of genesis concert.

“We have asked two members, with two completely contrasting styles, to write new music for this event, indeed on The Creation,” Bishop said, instructing the choir to do excerpts from “The Fifth Day” by Brent Wilson and John Jacob’s “The Rising Sun”.

Bishop then handed out music scores to players of Lydian Steel, making the point that: “Newspapers have been making heavy weather out of the foreign bands that performed here at the recent World Steelband Music Festival, apparently astonished that those bands were putting up music sheets for the players to read their parts.

“For the most part, the media acted as if this was some kind of a rarity in Trinidad and Tobago. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Bishop said.

“The Lydians have been reading all their pan notes for years.”

After the formalities and mini-concert, The Lydians danced well into the night to DJ music.

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