Buxton triumphs again – Biggest ever Pan-o-rama

― GPF, GBTI Buxton Pride and Dolphin Secondary took first place in their respective categories

― Music pieces played in honour of the late Valerie Rodway

DPI, Guyana, Monday, February 18, 2019

Steel pan fever took over the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, on Sunday night, as ten school bands and three large bands competed to take the title.

The music of recently honoured composer, Valerie Rodway, took centre stage at this year’s Pan-o-Rama Steel Band competition. This is the eleventh sponsored steel band competition by the Republic Bank as part of Guyana’s Mashramami celebrations.

In the meantime, each secondary school was required to play a piece of their choice composed by the late Rodway.

The crowd was on its feet as each song was played. They were rocking to the rhythm and cheering on the Guyana Police Force (GPF) band’s rendition of Jumo Primo’s ‘Tribute’; the GBTI Buxton Pride steel orchestra’s performance of Adrian Dutchin’s ‘I am Guyanese’ and ‘Is we Own’ played by the West Demerara Secondary School

Managing Director of Republic Bank Guyana, Richard Sammy said that the corporation is pleased to support and invest in such an event involving youth and the development of a unique art form.

“Republic Bank’s passion for pan development in Guyana has at its core, our focus on providing avenues for empowerment for our nation’s youth, while sustaining national art forms and our cultural heritage,” Sammy said. He noted the bank’s continued commitment to the development, sustainability and growth of steel pan in Guyana.

The Managing Director said that he is also pleased with the crowd’s participation and the energy of those who participated.

Permanent Secretary (PS), Melissa Tucker acknowledged Republic Bank for its continued support as she stressed that it is the most anticipated event slated on the Mashramani Calendar of activities.

She urged the participants to bring their ‘A’ game to the floor of the competition through wholesome competitiveness.

Acknowledging the mammoth turnout, Director of Sport, Christopher Jones said that this year’s support by the public highlights the need for a larger venue next year.

“The atmosphere in the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall is magnificent in fact the attendance is great and I think essentially the steel pan competition has definitely outgrown the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, so we definitely [have to look] for a new venue in 2020 but kudos to Republic Bank for keeping the Panorama alive every year,” Jones said.

In the small youth band category, the Dolphin Secondary claimed first-place while President’s College and Berbice High School claimed second and third places respectively.

However, in the large youth band category, a crowd favourite, the GBTI Buxton Pride Steel Orchestra copped the first position followed by West Demerara Secondary and the Bishop’s High School.

The Guyana Police Force Steel orchestra emerged victorious while Park Side and the National School of Music Orchestras trailed with second and third respectively, in the large band category,

Launched since 2009, the annual competition aims to celebrate the creative expressions of the steel pan. Through the resuscitation of the art form in 2010, thus far 1,180 students have benefited from the Pan Minors Music Literacy Programme.

Neola Damon.

Images: Jules Gibson.