Soloists tie for first at 'Pan is Beautiful IX' 

Issue No. 829 Sunday GUARDIAN - October 18, 1998
Copyright 1997 The Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

Soloists, ten-year old Mia Gormandy and Bruce Roberts, both members of Neal and Massy Trinidad All Stars, tied for first place with a 250 points score as the preliminary round of Pan Is Beautiful IX opened on Friday night, Under The Trees at the Normandie hotel, St Ann's.

Gormandy, playing a single tenor, earned wide audience approval for a polished rendition of Johann Strauss' "Voices of Spring," while Roberts using a similar instrument gathered his marks for the spirited interpretation of Chopin's "Minute Waltz."

Pan Is Beautiful IX, the 1998 edition of the biennial Steelband Music Festival presented by Pan Trinbago, featured competition among soloists, duets, quartets and ensembles from bands registered with the northern region of the national steelband organisation.

Among the duets, Desiree Myers and Rudolph Williams of Petrotrin Invaders scored 260 points to win the category, combining a tenor and four-pan cello to offer a scintillating version of Mozart's "Turkish March."

The lone competitor in the quartets' category was also from Trinidad All Stars. Bruce Roberts, Charmaine Evans, Sule Sampson and Sherma Babb together utilised two tenors, one double tenor and a tenor bass to give interpretation to Vivaldi's "La Primavara" (third movement) for a score of 234 points.

In the ensemble category which required entrants to present two selections, the 12-member Super Sonics, appearing last on the programme, placed first with a combined score of 504 points for its two selections of choice - David Rudder's "Calypso Music" (Caribbean) and Mark Loquan's "Land For All" (Other).

Starting promptly at 8.30 pm, before a large audience comprised mainly of foreign visitors and hotel guests, the playbill included performances by ten soloists, four duets, one quartet and eight ensembles.

Minister of Culture and Gender Affairs, Dr Daphne Phillips, in declaring the Festival open, noted that "pan had distinguished itself in the most sophisticated forums." Vice-president of Pan Trinbago Keith Byer said the Festival was not an isolated event, but the preliminary to the World Steelband Music Festival scheduled to be held in Trinidad and Tobago in the year 2000.

For patrons at the show, the length of the programme, caused primarily by the time taken to change around instruments on the stage, proved too much; many quitted the venue long before the final competitor completed performing at 1.45 am yesterday.

The panel of judges comprised Merle Albino-De Coteau, Dr Anne Marion Osborne, Dr Patricia Dardain-Ragguet and Satanand Sharma.

Pan Is Beautiful IX continued with preliminaries in Tobago last night. On October 20, it will be the eastern region's turn at the Centre of Excellence in Tunapuna where preliminary competition will be held from 8.30 pm.