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Sando celebrates major win

By Richardson Dhalai Monday, March 3 2014

Formed in 1999 by members of defunct steel bands in the city of San Fernando, the Carib Street-based band Pan Elders Steel Orchestra can now boast of having won two major titles in two separate categories in the National Panorama Finals.

In 2008, they won the small band title, and six years later, the Pan Elders having outgrown the small band category, has now won the medium band crown.

Last Saturday night, Pan Elders, playing a Duvonne Stewart arrangement of Lord Nelson’s “All ah we is one family” dethroned the 2013 champions NLCB Buccooneers which performed David Rudder’s “Madness”.

Pan Elders’ public relations officer, Lenny Williams, yesterday described the win as “fantastic”, saying the band was “feeling on top of the world”.

“We are a relatively young band and I don’t know of any other band which has won both the small band category and the medium band category in the space of six years,” Williams said. “Right now it have some people saying we should go into the large band category so we could bring home the title to South.” Williams noted despite the band’s name of Pan Elders, players’ ages range between 11 to 69, and there are only about three elders from the original group of pan players who are still actively playing in the steel- band.

“We have a set of young people who are carrying on the rich tradition from the older players and with this win we are looking for a bright future for the band,” Williams said before singling out band vice captain, Quincy Smith, as being instrumental in the band’s success.

San Fernando Mayor Kazim Hosein was yesterday full of praise for Pan Elders saying plans were in train to recognise the band for its achievements.

“This is the first time in a long while that a San Fernando band has achieved a national title and we are really happy and proud of them,” Hosein said. After Carnival, we are going to call them in to recognise them because there are a lot of young players in the band.” And at Carib Street, persons liming outside a bar also expressed their pride in the band’s achievements with one man, Seaton Depez, saying it was a “proud moment” for San Fernando steel bands. Proudly wearing a Pan Elders T-shirt, Depez said the band could only achieve greater achievements in the future.

“Anything could happen now,” he said with a laugh, adding, “we rising now”.

Steve Gittens, a former band member, also said, “I feel really proud because after only two years as a medium band, to win the title, that is fantastic.”

A number of persons also took to Facebook to express their pride in the band’s win such as Kay Brathwaite who wrote, “Congratulations 2 d best band in San Fernando, Pan Elders, they came out on top in the medium category in the panorama finals. I am so proud of you guys !!!!! YEAAHHHHHHHHHHH.”

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