Super Sonics the most scintillating

Soulful renditions had pan fans dancing at Pan is Beautiful IX

SUPER Sonics stole the show when Pan is Beautiful IX opened Under the Trees at the Hotel Normandie in St Ann's on Friday night. The steelband, the last ensemble to perform, gave a scintillating performance at 1.50 a.m.

Sadly, the band performed to only a handful of people and steelbandsmen who lingered to the very long end of a sometimes lacklustre show which began at 8.30 p.m. Earlier, the show had been packed with standing room only. Half of the patrons were tourists, many of whom were from a Trump Tour staying in Chaguaramas.

Unfortunately, the audience was robbed of the opportunity of hearing a bunch of talented musicians play "Land for All" by Mark E Loquan for their piece of choice and an amazingly soulful performance of David Rudder's "Calypso Music" that perked up and impressed diehard fans who remained to the bitter end. Shouting "Give we some more music like that with sweet notes and volume", two pan fans began to dance to Super Sonics soulful rendition of David Rudder's "Calypso Music" filled with riffs that built to a spine-tingling momentum.

Super Sonics' brilliant interpretation never deviated from the heart of the original score where every note could be heard ringing clearly.

With amazing unity, the band members managed to perform as though the house were still packed. They used their drummer more effectively than any other band integrating the drum with the pan effectively and capturing a mesmerizing Baptist beat. The panmen led the audience to exhilarating heights several times in the song. In the end, they were awarded 504 points.

Their nearest competitor was The Southeast Port of Spain Prison Youth Club (Sepos PYC) which erupted into thunderous applause and hugs when their score was announced. Third place went to a flamboyant Flabej Ensemble led by John Douglas who performed a folk melody and Rossini's "Barber of Seville" and earned 473 points.

Eight ensembles in total competed in the Northeast preliminaries for that category. Ten soloists competed. Pint-sized Mia Gormandy, a crowd favourite from Trinidad All Stars who played "Voices of Spring" from Johann Strauss tied with her fellow pansman Bruce Roberts who played Chopin's "Minute Waltz" for first place 250 points.

A second place score of 246 earned Jamal Jasani Glynn a place in the semifinal leg. He played a melodic up-tempo version of his own composition entitled "Reverie". Third place went to Ronnie Ross of Serenaders who capitalized on some dramatic runs when he played "Invention in A Major" by Martin Sheafe.

Of the four entries for duets, Desiree Myers and Rudolph Williams of Petrotrin Invaders won with a well-paced "Turkish March" by Mozart.

Second place went to Roxanne Christian and Eion Charles of Flabej Ensemble who played "Sonata in A Major" by Geo.Philipp Telemann.

Third place went to Dwayne Ifill and Aqua Leith of Sepos PYC Steel Orchestra with a slow, clear rendition of "Pan in the Meadows".

Only one quartet performed, Bruce Roberts, Charmaine Evans, Sule Sampson, and Sherma Babb of Trinidad All Stars performed a tight arrangement of "La Primavera".

Bands were judged as follows: 40 points for arrangement, 40 for general performance, 10 for quality of sound and 10 for rhythm.

As with all pan shows, this one lost some momentum with the amount of time it took to set up each steelband.

Pan is Beautiful IX continues on October 20 at the Naparima Bowl and moves to the Centre of Excellence on October 22.  Northern semi-finals will be on October 24 at the Queen's Park Savannah. Finals for everything but orchestra will be held in the Savannah, October 31.

Orchestra finals will be held in Jean Pierre Complex on November 7.