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Silver Stars Shine At 21st Century Pan
Playboyz take single-pan title

By Terry Joseph
April 08, 2002

An audience of more than 4,000 steelband music lovers came as a pleasant surprise to organisers of Saturday night’s joint finals of the Pan in the 21st Century and Down Memory Lane competitions.

Pan Trinbago president Patrick Arnold described the turnout as gratifying, saying he felt vindicated, after having faced some degree of dissent for moving the contests out of the Carnival season. “We certainly never got this response when it was held during the festival,” he said.

Held at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain the show utilised the Carnival stage, playing to the Grand Stand on the south side and a standing audience in a corral developed in the space on which the North Stand once stood.

Pan enthusiasts in the corral had been encouraged to bring coolers for a picnic, advice that would have been equally useful for those seated in the Grand Stand, given the inadequacy of catering services accorded the largely mature middle-class patronage there.

Quite naturally, a variation of the Panorama aesthetic evolved, although bereft of the cacophony of rhythm-sections or DJ music to herald each contestant. With conventional orchestras limited to 50 members, half the size of their Carnival presentations, they moved into playing positions much more swiftly, containing the 25 performances to some six hours.

St James Tripolians, fielding the maximum 35 players in the single-pan category, kicked off the evening punctually at 7 pm, playing Keith Simpson’s arrangement of Schleiser’s violin solo “Leibersfreud”; a piece written in 1926 but made popular here at Jouvert 1960 by the Morvant Ebonites.

Of the 11 single-pan bands that followed, three chose the Latin standard “Perfidia” by Alberto Dominguez, best among them Anthony “Ben-up” Kinsale’s Laventille Serenaders, who placed second.

But it was the final contestant, Woodbrook Playboyz who would top the night’s playoff in this category, for its performance of “I Can’t Stop Loving You”, arranged by Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, which earned them 276 points and threw mentor Brian Kuei Tung, band members and supporters into demonstrations of delight.

The judges for this competition were Stephanie Power, Ezra Joseph and Junia Howell, all regulars at the annual Panorama competition.

Howell was replaced by David Waddell for the conventional orchestra category contest, which began at 10 pm with Sforzata doing Adrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera”. They were followed by Silver Stars doing Barry White’s “Love’s Theme” a band standard, that ushered them to top rung with 279 points.

Reigning Panorama champions, Neal & Massy Trinidad All Stars came in second with “Green, Green Grass of Home” and Witco Desperadoes and Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove tied for third place with “Amor” and “Theme from Exodus” (respectively).

The Phase II Pan Groove placing raised a howl from those members of the audience who stayed the distance, indicating displeasure at the band’s placing. Bandleader/arranger Sharpe was “personally devastated” at the outcome, consoling himself with the thought that of the more than 4,000 people present, the final standings was only the opinion of three. As it happened, the three were the night’s judges.

Among the heard conversations was on popular among panyard regulars, who remarked upon the transmigration of players, most noticeably in the Silver Stars line-up, where identifiable Desperadoes and BP Renegades pannists performed under a different banner, some of them raking in significant paycheques for their efforts.

There was also much buzzing about bands who had performed the same songs that they played at Jouvert Bomb competitions and Carnival Monday and Tuesday night contests in Port of Spain and the simplicity of some selections.

The event lost nothing by the absence of free performances on the track leading up to the stage, a discovery not lost on Pan Trinbago officials.

With prices ranging from $40 for the picnic area through $60 general admission in the Grand Stand to $100 for box seats, the organisation raked in its best take yet for the Pan in the 21st Century and Down Memory Lane competitions.

“The audience has made a most convincing point,” said Arnold. “The circumstances that befell us due to the shortness of the Carnival season have pointed us to a niche for this particular contest and we will certainly propose that it remains at this time of the year.”

Even at a time well past 1 am, several patrons headed for the Playboyz and Silver Stars panyards, both situated on Tragarete Road within a block of each other, to continue celebrations that went well into yesterday morning.


Final placing/ Band/ Tune/ Points
1. Silver Stars/ Love’s Theme/ 279
2. N&M T’dad All Stars/ Green Green Grass of Home/270
3. Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove/ Exodus Theme/ 269
3. Witco Desperadoes/ Amor/ 269
5. Potential Symphony/ Fantasy/ 266
6. Harmonites/ I Want You Back/ 263
7. Sforzata/ Phantom of the Opera/ 261
8. Merrytones/ You Are Not Alone/ 260
9. TCL Group Skiffle Bunch/ Express Yourself/ 259
10. Fonclaire/ Never Too Much/ 258
10. Carib Tokyo/ Something/ 258
12. Solo Pan Knights/ Somewhere Over the Rainbow/ 256
13. Our Boys/ Lately/ 247

Final placing/ Band/ Tune/ Points
1. Woodbrook Playboyz/ I Can’t Stop Loving You/ 276
2. Laventille Serenaders/ Angel/ 265.5
3. San Juan East Side/ Perfidia/ 261
4. Trinidad East Side Symphony/ Chamelon/ 255
5. Power Boats Scorpion Pan Reflections/ Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina/ 254.5
6. St James Tripolians/ Leibersfreud/ 254
7. Trinidad Nostalgic/ Perfidia/ 253
Marsicans/ Laycha/ 253
Pan on the Move/ I Just Called to Say I Love You/ 253
10.La Creole Pan Groove/ The Holy City/ 251
11. San Juan All Stars/ My Way/ 249
12. La Horquetta Pan Groove/ Perfidia/ 247

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