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Panorama action moves to D' Big Yard
Posted By: News
Date: Friday, 21 January 2005, at 3:33 p.m.
By Terry Joseph
The stage is completed and the North Stand checked and declared ready for the annual pilgrimage to the Queen's Park Savannah by pan aficionados, music lovers at large, limers, posses, bacchannalists, career winers and other groups common to the Panorama semi-final, which takes place from 11 a.m. Sunday.
Even before the Savannah showdown gets underway, small conventional orchestras will have had their semi-final, those playoffs happening tomorrow at the Arima Velodrome from 1 p.m., to determine category finalists, who will meet again at the same venue on Thursday, February 3, to joust for the top prize.
For the top two large conventional orchestras, it is the most eerie brand of déjà vu. The first and second placing by Exodus and Desperadoes being the same positions as when they entered this round last year, the fact that Exodus eventually won the national title in this category offering no firm guarantee of a repeat.
But for those positions in that grouping, last year's semi-final resulted in a major reshuffle of the standings enjoyed at the close of the preliminary round. The 2004 Savannah Party had its opening delayed by some 45 minutes, occasioned by reluctance on the part of the first band up, Tornadoes, who reportedly refused to perform at the scheduled 11 a.m. start time, as the stands were still relatively empty.
Pan Trinbago is promising a tighter show all around for Sunday's production, vowing to stick to the plan of having the house DJ limit vocal versions of the songs to eight minutes, using any additional time taken by the orchestra in setting up to play any other music until the band is ready to perform for the judges.
No doubt buoyed by the possibility of scoring the first hat-trick in the history of Panorama, defending champions (large) Exodus cannot allow any slippage Sunday, knowing the hunger of ten-time winner (and record-holder in that regard) Desperadoes to break the chain and further extend its title-tally over Renegades. Phase II Pan Groove, for a long time the bridesmaid, would no doubt like to be at the very altar of the competition this time around.
Indeed, the battle is fully engaged and given the sidebar issue over choice of Panorama
selection, another kind of reckoning is also on the cards, with TCL Group Skiffle Bunch and Neal and Massy Trinidad All Stars immediately outside the big-four ranking at this time, playing calypsoes bound to invoke nostalgia in the stands, although the jury is still out on the value of crowd response in what is, after all, a music contest.
There are, of course, other aspects of Panorama that have little to do with what is being performed onstage. The north stand posses having developed into all-inclusive parties over the past few years, have already paid the relevant fees to have their identifying banners hung as a demarcation of turf, the only form of proprietorship allowed since the National Carnival Commission restricts physical barriers. Oversized coolers have also been given the thumbs-down from the NCC.
From all appearances, President Max Richards will again attend Sunday's savannah party, as suggested by an enclosure in the North Stand, albeit much smaller than last year's area set aside for his group.
Then there is the cuisine of the savannah party, foods of a certain flavour and consistency, said to provide ballast for predictable overindulgences that may require alkaline redress or starches to act as buffering but the music is what holds the major attraction, thundering from centre-stage as each next band tries its best to charm the official jury in the grand stand.
At the Arima Velodrome tomorrow, because of a tie for the final position after the preliminary round, 15 bands will perform for the adjudicators in a show expected to run for some four to five hours. At the savannah party Sunday, 28 medium and large conventional bands will appear. No estimate on the length of that event was available.
Pan Trinbago president Patrick Arnold said he expects the show will start on time and run smoothly, as a number of systems have been put in place to make the event more audience-friendly. "We are forever working with a history that is best remembered by its worst moments," Arnold said.
"The years in which Panorama started on time and went like clockwork are never factored into the final reckoning but any memory of a disruption or some other difficulty with keeping on schedule remains indelible.
"We understand public concerns and have been working away at bringing down the number of comments and complaints in that regard. I think when you consider the magnitude of the production, in all fairness, the successes are never given enough credit.
"What we are looking at is over 2,000 pannists at the savannah one day after hundreds play at the Velodrome and this coming after five days of judging preliminaries and the logistics involved in those transactions.
"Just rest assured we will be trying to put on the best Panorama competition ever, both in Arima and at the Savannah, and on behalf of Pan Trinbago I want to wish everyone a wonderful weekend of pan music," Arnold said.
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