The National School of Music stole the show, Sunday evening as hundreds of supporters from around the country converged at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall to witness the annual Pan-O-Rama Steel Pan Competition.
The show is a regular cultural feature during the nation’s Republic Day celebrations. The Sports Hall was filled to capacity as the crowd’s favourite, National School of Music’s (NSM) Steel Orchestra performed “Tribute to the Greats”.
This stirring rendition earned the group first place and captured the festivity of the Mashramani celebration. Conductor of the orchestra, Colgrain White, explained that the band has been practising for the competition since October of last year.
“It’s a real good feeling to [win the competition]; the guys really worked hard and I want to say congratulations to them.”
West Demerara Secondary School took the small youth band category by storm, securing the first position and pumping energy into the crowd as they performed.
Reigning Large Youth Band Champions North Ruimveldt Secondary’s exhilarating presentation did not fall short and secured them the winning position again with their soaring recital.
Other winners included Bishops’ High School, Dolphin Secondary School, President’s College, Guyana Police Force Steel Orchestra, Pan Wave Academy and ten-time winner Parkside Steel Orchestra.
Conductor of the Bishops’ High School’s Band, Hanani Ben Lewi, expressed his satisfaction with his group’s performance.
“It feels very rewarding, we’ve worked hard, we did our preparations, and it’s unfortunate that we didn’t get first but we got second and we’re proud of our results. We know next year we’re coming to get first so I’m really proud of my kids. Hopefully, this is a lesson to work even harder. I’m very proud,” said Lewi.
The first leg of the competition held on Thursday last at the Theater Guild saw junior and senior solo, pan duet and Pan Jazz performances.
Vijay Sharma, Darius Austin, and Tirese Thomas copped the first, second and third prizes respectively in the Junior Solo Category While Hanani Ben Lewi secured the coveted first prize in the senior solo category.
The duet competition featured a sterling recital by Jovanka Williams and Don Johnson. The Kunjaz Ensemble remained the champions in the Pan Jazz category.
Minster of Social Cohesion, Dr. George Norton, was in attendance along with Republic Bank’s Marketing and Communications Manager, Michelle Johnson, and Mashramani Coordinator, Andrew Tyndall.
For several years, Republic Bank has sponsored this event. The bank presented $2.8M in 2018 to the Ministry of Social Cohesion. This event forms part of the Bank’s ‘Power to make a Difference’ initiative and continues the organisation’s pursuit of the sustainable development of the Steel Pan art form.
The Pan-o-Rama competition first began in 2009 with three bands and has grown over the past 10 years into a major event on the Mashramani calendar.
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