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.