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Exocubs, Arima Utd take pan titles

By Terry Joseph
November 24, 2003

Members of the Exodus Steel Orchestra family earned yet another reason to celebrate, when its youth band, Exocubs, copped Pan Trinbago's Junior Steelband Music Festival Champion title at the weekend.

The band went into Saturday night's final, the second identically titled event at the Jean Pierre Complex in as many days, with trophies bagged earlier in the week during playoffs in minor and individual categories.

The previous night's joust climaxed a parallel nationwide contest organised by the Pan in Schools Coordinating Council (PSCC); whose orchestra final was won by Arima United Schools.

For Exocubs, it is the second consecutive victory, while Arima United chalked up its third overall.

This year's confusion came when PSCC decided to go ahead with its festival plans despite a similar project in place at Pan Trinbago. Then Culture Minister Pennelope Beckles mediated a settlement between the groups but was moved to another portfolio before her plan could be implemented.

Chairman Rudo Forteau alluded to both the conflict and the future, saying "to not stage this year's event would have been a terrible disrespect to the late Senator Arnim Smith who, as president of Pan Trinbago, fought tooth and nail to reinstate the senior festival in 1980 and one year later introduced the Junior version.

Despite the poor attendance that plagued both events, Forteau sought to dispel the view that the nation's youth had little interest in pan.

The PSCC festival was declared a tribute to Andre Tanker and in honour of musician Louise McIntosh Playing "Yemange", a composition by Robert "Robbie" Greenidge and the test piece, Damian Alexander's "Tribute to Andre Tanker" under musical direction of Maureen Clement-Moe, Arima United earned 510 points and the $15,000 prize.

The jury, Harold Headley, Jessel Murray, Dr Ann Marion Osbourne and Nervin Saunders brought in St Augustine Senior Comprehensive second with 500 points, their tune of choice being Brian Villafana's "Steel Creation", while St Joseph's Convent's interpretation of Kitchener's "Pan in A Minor" bought them third spot.

In the Pan Trinbago event, three junior bands and seven senior groups competed. Among the kiddie bands, Merrytones Juniors topped with 241 points for its performance of Tanker's "Sayamanda", with Newtown Boys Pan Ensemble (230) and Gary Straker's Pan School (229) coming in second and third (respectively) for their renditions of "Zampa Overture" and "Unknown Band".

In the 12 and over category, Exocubs earned 521 points for Shadow's "Farrell" and excerpt from Beethoven's "Curiolan Overture"to take the title, as Katzenjammers Kids (499) settled for second place after performing "Steelband Times" and "Feeling Nice", while Siparia Deltones Youth (493), who also played "Steelband Times", came in third for that rendition and Sparrow's "Mr Walker".

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