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Terry Joseph 
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World Pan Reps Agree On Festival 2002 Plan

October 27, 2001
By Terry Joseph

Finland’s Ari Vitanen, in his closing remarks, described yesterday’s meeting of delegates from pan organisations from around the world as "an historic occasion", a sentiment unanimously echoed around the table.

The four-hour meeting, which was held at the National Carnival Commission (NCC) boardroom, Queen’s Park Savannah, brought representatives from Europe, the US, Canada, the Caribbean and Trinidad and Tobago together to discuss the 2002 World Steelband Music Festival, which will be held here in July.

Vitanen and Jenny Lee represented Pan European, Cliff Alexis was in for Northern Illinois University, Ed Peters of Canada Pan and St Lucia’s Margaret Charles of CariPan comprised the visiting contingent (Horace Morancie of United Steelbands of America sent his regrets).

Pan Trinbago’s team was led by president Patrick Arnold (who chaired the proceedings) and included Melville Bryan, Selwyn Paul, Winston Thomas, Ian Clarke, Rennison Quashie, Richard Forteau, Ricardo Herbert, Anthony Mc Quilkin, Vincent Benjamin and Dr Finbar Fletcher.

Among items agreed upon was the date of the grand final, which was fixed for July 14, after the Euro and North American delegates explained their difficulties with preparing for an October festival. It was also decided that the traditional test-piece would be dropped from the programme, as it tended to become boring for audiences.

Two pieces are to be played by each band, one an original work (or a known song adapted for pan) and the other a tune of choice – not necessarily a calypso. In any event, one of the pieces must be scored for a steel orchestra.

With the World Festival now set for early July, the local qualifying round will take place by June, yielding contenders for the semi-final of the global contest.

Pan European has already organised its qualifying round, which will be staged at the amphitheatre in La Ville de Sete, France on May 25 and 26. Lee distributed bilingual brochures for the event.

The Euro round will pit 20 bands from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. The top four orchestras will come here for the final. Pan European also plans to invite Festival 2000 champions TCL Group Skiffle Bunch to perform as guest artistes at the playoffs. Similar contests will take place in Canada, the wider Caribbean and the US.

In winding up, Arnold thanked the delegates for attending, saying: "It is a clear indication that pan is no longer in danger and in fact, just last week we had a visit from a group of South Africans who are planning to set up pan music programmes in that country.

"We welcome Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands and Norway to the World Steelband Music Festival and we have been advised to expect participation from a number of other countries not yet listed," Arnold said.

"The level of interest shown by the delegates confirms that the world has accepted pan as a legitimate musical instrument, no longer a novelty from an exotic country. We now have to put in place the resources and infrastructure to ensure that the 2002 festival comes off without the problems that plagued the inaugural edition," Arnold said.

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