Neal & Massy Trinidad All Stars became the first steel orchestra to take home $2 million in prize money when it was adjudged winner of the large band category at the 2011 Blink bmobile National Panorama final at the Queenâ€™s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, last Saturday night.Â Playing a Leon â€œSmoothâ€ Edwards arrangement of Itâ€™s Showtime, composed by Edwin Pouchet and Alvin Daniell, the Duke Street-based orchestra scored 278 points to secure its eighth Panorama win, and in the process dethrone defending champion PCS Silver Stars which played the same selection arranged by Pouchet, but could earn only 275 points to take third place and the $750,000 prize.
Second position and a $1 million prize went to Sagicor Exodus for its execution of the Pelham Goddard arrangement of Calling Meh composed by Mark Loquan, Ken â€œProfessorâ€ Philmore and Destra Garcia. The band scored 276 points.Â When results were announced at 3.45 am yesterday, after more than seven hours of competition, All Starsâ€™ victory was not fully endorsed by everyone in attendance, as many felt Caribbean Airlines Invadersâ€™ musically rich presentation of Doh Be On Dat, composed and arranged by Arddin Herbert, merited a higher placing than its fourth position tie with Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove which offered the Len â€œBoogsieâ€ Sharpe/Gregory â€œGBâ€ Ballantyne composition Do Something For Pan.
Indeed, at the end of Invadersâ€™ contribution, patrons in both the Grand and North Stands rose to their feet in a standing ovation to the band in sincere appreciation of the quality of music offered.Â South-based orchestras NLCB Fonclaire and Petrotrin Siparia Deltones placed sixth and seventh, respectively, with the latter sharing the position with Witco Desperadoes.Â Fonclaire played The Original De Fosto Himselfâ€™s (Winston Scarborough) composition A Raging Storm, arranged by Ken Philmore, while both Deltones and Desperadoes performed Benjaiâ€™s (Rodney Le Blanc) Trini.
In the medium band category, adjudicators apparently found it challenging to separate the bands, resulting in three tied places among the ten competitors.Â Valley Harps and Katzenjammers tied for first place with 275 points. Valley Harps played Do Something For Pan, arranged by Michelle Huggins-Watts, while Tobago-based Katzenjammers chose Wake Up, another Pouchet/Daniell collaboration, arranged by Pouchet. Â First prize in this category is $750,000, and second is worth $650,000.
NLCB Buccooners, of Tobago, took third spot and a $550,000 prize with Calling Meh, arranged by Seion Gomez. .Â Courts Sound Specialists, of Laventille, was fourth, playing the same selection arranged by Philmore. Pan Elders placed fifth, Sangre Grande Cordettes was sixth, Steel Xplosion and Arima Angel Harps tied for seventh position, and Power Stars and Pamberi tied for ninth place.Â Fireworks, confetti, dancing couples, and masâ€™ characters were used to complement most of the bandsâ€™ musical presentations.
Pan Trinbago, producer of the event, presented President George Maxwell Richards with a plaque in commemoration of its Diamond Jubilee celebrations this year that recognises 75 years of the existence of steelbands in Trinidad and Tobago.Â In addition, the pan organisation made a presentation to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar of $75,000 as a donation to the Childrenâ€™s Life Fund.Â â€œThis is the first time something like this has been done by the pan movement,â€ said its president Keith Diaz..Â â€œI hope people will realise that we are doing something for pan,â€ he said.