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‘I love my pan’

By STACY MOORE Wednesday, February 5 2014

SEVENTY-TWO-YEAR-old amputee Glendford Sobers who played the steelpan from a wheelchair, stole the show at the National Panorama 2014 Single Pan preliminaries at Guaracara Park in Marabella on Saturday night.

Sobers, whose New Age Trendsetters band hails from Chaguanas was the tenth band to perform before a panel of judges. They received thunderous applause from the audience. The grandfather of 29, had pan lovers on their feet as many edged closer to get a look at Sobers playing the steelpan seated in his wheelchair.

Last August, Sobers of Enterprise was diagnosed with diabetes and had his right foot amputated after hot water burnt his toe. Doctors were forced to cut off his toe which subsequently led to the amputation of his leg.

“When my foot had to be amputated, yes I was sad, but this was not going to stop me from playing pan. I love my pan. It is part of my life, so I play pan from my wheelchair now,” Sobers told Newsday after his performance. Sobers who is originally from Piarco said he started playing the steelpan at age seven. The New Age Trendsetters band delivered its own rendition of Fire Down Below by Ann Marie Innis. Sobers together with his son Glendford Sobers Jr, Miles Phillip and Kadeem Sobers arranged the song. Sobers’ grandsons Kadeem, 20, and Kel, 16, together with their parents Glendford Sobers and Suzette Sobers are also members of the New Age Trendsetters. Sobers is also the father of local reggae star Marlon Asher. On Saturday the steelbands were judged in the criteria of arrangement, performance, tone and rhythm. Each band was allocated one song of their choice. Austin “SuperBlue” Lyons’ “Spanking” was tune of choice for four bands. First to perform was Self Help Marine delivering “Spanking” which was arranged by Godwin Bowin. The band’s performance was followed by Rio Claro Koskeros also showcasing its version of Blues “Spanking”. Performances were followed by Shades In Steel, “Ah Going and Party Tonight” by Lord Nelson. Other competitors included La Romaine Super Vibes, Tiger Tanks Fyzabad 4th Dimension, Highlighters and St Thomas Silver Stars. The band Jah Roots hailing from Point Fortin, was the only band with pan around the neck. The competition was staged under the auspices of Pan Trinbago. According to results released earlier this week, Sobers’ side has since qualified for the semi-finals.

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