Steelband children make joyful music in South

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Yvonne Webb

Pan is the in­stru­ment that will take chil­dren around the globe, to places some on­ly dream of. That was the mes­sage de­liv­ered by Pan Trin­ba­go pres­i­dent Kei­th Di­az as he ad­dressed scores of young peo­ple par­tic­i­pat­ing in a Pan Ex­trav­a­gan­za at Skif­fle Bunch Pa­n­yard, San Fer­nan­do, on Ju­ly 3.

Billed Ju­nior Cham­pi­ons in Steel, the event, now in its fourth year, was host­ed by the St Mar­garet’s Boys’ Steel Or­ches­tra. Lend­ing sup­port to this award-win­ning band were Grant Memo­r­i­al Pres­by­ter­ian Lit­tle Bunch, Gold­en Hand Steel Or­ches­tra and the Skif­fle Bunch Youth band, all win­ners of var­i­ous pan events.

Rose­marie Abra­ham, SEA teacher of St Mar­garet’s Boys, ex­plained the idea for the ex­trav­a­gan­za was con­cep­tu­alised around cre­at­ing a non-com­pet­i­tive at­mos­phere where the chil­dren could show­case their tal­ent and so­cialise with each oth­er. This event, she ex­plained, was al­so twofold in that one of the ob­jec­tives was to raise mon­ey to pur­chase pans for next year’s panora­ma.

St Mar­garet’s, which has en­cour­aged past stu­dents to re­turn in a spe­cial class where they are ex­posed to both the prac­ti­cal and the­o­ret­i­cal as­pect of the pan, won their third straight Ju­nior Panora­ma cham­pi­onship in the Un­der 13 cat­e­go­ry this year.

Their Un­der 21 team, placed third.

Di­az ad­vised the young play­ers, who not on­ly demon­strat­ed their dex­ter­i­ty on the pan, but their well co-or­di­nat­ed and chore­o­graphed move­ment, “please con­tin­ue to go for­ward by play­ing this in­stru­ment.

“This in­stru­ment will car­ry you to many parts of the uni­verse where you will be able to rep­re­sent Trinidad and To­ba­go,” he said.

To the par­ents present, Di­az said, “this in­stru­ment is be­ing used around the world to open their minds for stud­ies.

“I hope our par­ents in this coun­try take heed and look at the in­stru­ment to el­e­vate your chil­dren ed­u­ca­tion­al­ly, for their fu­ture and the fu­ture of T&T.” Di­az not­ed there were many steel­band chil­dren in T&T who had ex­celled ar­tis­ti­cal­ly and aca­d­e­m­i­cal­ly. Vic­tor Prescott, project co-or­di­na­tor, Pan in the Class­room Unit, brought greet­ings on be­half of Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Dr Tim Goopeesingh. Prescott said the Min­istry re­mained com­mit­ted to the de­vel­op­ment of the to­tal hu­man be­ing in every­thing they do.

“This is why we have of­fered a wide range of sub­jects on the school’s cur­ricu­lum, in­clud­ing vi­su­al and per­form­ing arts, of which mu­sic is a part.” He ex­plained that through the Pan in the Class­room project, they have em­barked on plac­ing the na­tion­al in­stru­ment at the cen­tre of the mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion. At present they have placed a 16-piece en­sem­ble in ap­prox­i­mate­ly 160 pri­ma­ry and sec­ondary schools to teach the read­ing and writ­ing of mu­sic.

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