ONE POINT RIVALRY
By JOAN RAMPERSAD Tuesday, January 29 2013
The excellence of pan music at Sunday night’s Panorama semi-finals proved a virtual musical headache for the judges so much so that the four “top guns” –Phase II Pan Groove, Republic Bank Exodus, Neal & Massy All Stars, and WITCO Desperadoes – were each separated by only one point.
When all the score sheets were tallied, Phase II was tops with 273 points; Exodus followed with 272 points; All Stars eased to third place with 271 points, and WITCO Despers, in fourth berth with 270 points.
The six-member judging panel in the large band category all seemed to have been captivated by the performances of many of the bands – the shape of their music, pan-runs, their crescendos and various nuances, not to forget the tuning of the pans, and how each band got their message across.
Phase II performed Len “Boogsie” Sharpe’s arrangement of “More Love”; Exodus on the other hand went for “Gold” arranged by Pelham Goddard. Third place All Stars scored with their arrangement of Leon “Smooth” Edwards’ “Bounce and Drive.” Like the first three, Despers following one point behind, did a scintillating performance of Robbie Greenidge’s arrangement of “Hammer Time.”
Newsday spoke yesterday with the arrangers of the four top bands about the one-point margins separating them.
“It means we just have to work a little harder. I have a good chance because our music is different. I believe we have the best music in the Panorama that makes people just want to dance and not confuse their heads,” Sharpe said.
With a laugh Goddard said, “That makes it interesting. The competition is not finished as yet and that makes it very good.”
Edwards congratulated all the bands making it into the finals.
“We feel very confident going into the final, we like the keen competition because you get the best out of bands when it is like that. So let’s go have fun,” he said.
As for Greenidge, he said, “I think it’s very close, and we are happy to be in that situation. We are one of the four bands inside, and happy to be there especially with what happened to us last year, so we’ll do what is necessary to get to the number one position.”
Despers missed out on last year’s final, failing to get past the semis.
An indication of how all of the big bands were jostling for top berths with their musical interpretation was shown clearly when it came to the marks.
There was a tie for fifth place between Caribbean Airlines Invaders, playing the tune “Dat is Lie”, and PCS Nitrogen Silver Stars with their “Shock Attack” performance. Both bands tied with 265 points.
There was also a three-place tie between Junior Sammy Group Skiffle, playing “Supna – the Dream”; BP Renegades playing “Shock Attack”, and National Lotteries Fonclaire, who played “Addicted.” These three bands tied in seventh place with 264 points – just one point below the fifth berth.
RBC Redemption Sound Setters of Tobago filled tenth berth with 255 points for their performance of the tune “More than an Oil Drum”.
Prior to the announcement of the “big bands” points, many pan followers in the crowd were of the view that Despers had the best tonal quality, and clarity of music than its other competitors.
The top 10 large bands were never that close in previous Panorama judging.
The large bands panel of judges comprised: Audley Timothy, Bernadette Roberts, Kenrick Noel, Lambert Phillip, Marceline Peters and Rosalind Garnes.In the medium bands category, the first place went to the Tobago band, NLCB Buccooneers topping the category with a scintillating performance of Cecil Hume’s composition “Gold”. With their very energetic playing of Sieopn Gomez’ arrangement they lit up the Queen’s Park Savannah. The band received a thunderous applause from patrons in both the North and Grand Stands.
The Tobago band, one of the four that qualified for the finals, amassed 271 points. The other qualifying Tobago bands were Petrotrin Katzenjammers in fifth position; Carib Dixieland in seventh place and Steel Xplosion in tenth place.
Former winners of the medium band category, Courts Sound Specialists of Laventille played Alphonsus Cassell’s tune “Long Time” which was arranged by Ken “Professor” Philmore. The band got 268 points, while NGC Couva Joylanders, who delighted the pan aficionados with Kenneth “Panam” Clarke’s arrangement of “Band from Space, placed third with 266 points.
Pan Elders earned fourth place with 262 points following their performance of Duvonne Stewart’s arrangement of “We Come Out to Play.”
Judging of the medium bands was done by a six-member panel that included Laurel Broomes- Rogers, Lorna Conyette, Langford Madray, Martin Albino, Richard Pierre, and Ronald Berridge.