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Exodus gets Chaconia medal

By Terry Joseph
August 30, 2003

FRESH from an historic tour of Japan,the Tunapuna-based Exodus Steel Orchestra will tomorrow become only the fourth such organisation to receive the Chaconia Gold Medal, ranked just one rung below Trinidad and Tobago's highest national award, the Trinity Cross.

No steelband has been awarded the Chaconia Gold since 1996 when the legendary Invaders was the recipient. That was four years after similar awards went to Witco Desperadoes and bpTT Renegades Steel Orchestras and pan pioneer and master-tuner Bertie Marshall - the first of the instrument's custodians to be accorded such status.

Pan Trinbago, world governing body for this country's national musical instrument, received the Trinity Cross in 1987, ranking the organisation in the company of performance arts icons Dr Pat Bishop (1995) and Peter Minshall (1996).

Creators of the annual Pan Ramajay competition, Exodus was adjudged best in the world at last October's World Steelband Music Festival, the final round of which was held in Trinidad and Tobago. The band also fielded four quartets at the same festival, placing first, third, fourth and fifth in the final standings. Of its four duets, one placed first and two others tied for second position.

It was the second international triumph for Exodus in ten months, the band having won the Caribbean 'Panorama' title in December 2001.

Last Carnival, Exodus copped its third notch on the coveted National Panorama trophy. One of few steelbands that owns the property on which it is located, Exodus' resident musical arrangers are Pelham Goddard, Jesus Acosta and Dr Pat Bishop, with instruments hand-crafted by the finest pan artisans, including Leo Coker, Herman Guppy and Bertram Kellman. The band is led by Ainsworth Mohammed.

In the realm of pan, Chaconia Silver medals have been awarded to Ellie Mannette (2001), Jit Samaroo (1995), Jocelyn Pierre (1990), Len "Boogsie" Sharpe (1987).

Humming Bird Gold medal pan recipients include Nicky Inniss (1996), Lennox "Bobby" Mohammed and Gerry Jemmott (1992) and Casablanca and Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestras (1982).

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