Panorama rocks

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1951
The highly energetic Guyana Police Force band won in the Large Band category at the Panorama festival held at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall on Sunday [Samuel Maughn photo]

THE Mashramani Panorama competition was a huge hit yet again at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall (CASH) as the youth and large bands raised the roof on Sunday.

The relatively large CASH space could not contain the mammoth crowd that descended on the event. It was shoulder-to-shoulder seating and patrons lined every single available space. There were few bands that are usually part of the competition– particularly the exquisite Pan Groove steel band– that did not participate this year, but the competition was nothing short of exhilarating.

The West Demerara Secondary School, performing ‘Is we own,’ dressed in their army attire [Vishani Ragobeer photo]
In the Small School Band segment, which was held first, the Dolphin Secondary School was a clear winner, edging past all of its competitors. These bands here were tasked with performing songs by Valerie Rodway, and even the President’s College band which claimed first after a highly spirited performance that got the crowd going, could not top the secondary school. In third place came the Berbice High School band.

By the time this first segment was finished, the atmosphere at CASH was buzzing with excitement in preparation for the more upbeat songs to come. In the youth band competition, the young people really gave it their extra efforts.

The Bishop’s High School played the once famous calypso song “Mama, I don’t want to be born”; and it would appear as though the entire eastern section of CASH was packed with sheer ‘Bishopians’. But the school managed a third place.

Vying quite impressively for the first place was the West Demerara Secondary School, that performed ‘Is we own,’ replete with their army outfits and illustrating the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy. They made it only to the second position however. But truly, the GBTI Buxton Pride kept their outfits and props relatively simple, but illustrated that their sheer prowess on the metal instrument was enough to capture the top spot.

And finally, the final three bands — the large bands- were left to excite the crowd. Last year’s winners, the National School of Music Steel Orchestra began their performance with much drama and hype. Midway through their energetic performance, masqueraders graced the CASH and added to the spectacle of performers. But even with this, they could not climb higher than third.

The massive crowd cheering for the Police Force band [Samuel Maughn photo]
The Caribbean Airlines Parkside Steel Orchestra was the crowd’s favourite, and compared to the other bands, kept it simple, but focused on perfecting the pan music. It came as no surprise when they captured the second spot, losing to the Guyana Police Force band.

With 255.5 points from the judges and unanimous support from the crowd, it would have been a mystery if the police band had lost. Playing Jumo Primo’s “Tribute”, the skilful musicians sounded out CASH. And of course, they were backed by Guyana’s most prolific conductor- Ray Sparman.