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Caribbean

Published on May 31st, 2013 | by Peter Ray Blood Trinidad Guardian Newspapers

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Did St Mary’s have first school pan side?

What a weekend that was. It actually began on Thursday evening with the special screening of Star Trek Into Darkness at Digicel IMAX, followed by the Johnny Walker Blue event, hosted by Bryden’s at Prime Restaurant. Pre-committed to Raf Robertson’s Majesty concert at Queen’s Hall on Friday evening, I regrettably was unable to attend the pan jam by Neal & Massy Trinidad All Stars Duke Street panyard in Port-of-Spain.

When I attended Queen’s Royal College back in the ‘60s, a standard joke was that the priests at rival St Mary’s College said special prayers each time Saints beat Royalians in an Intercol football match. Well, apparently some special prayers were offered, and answered, last Sunday when St Mary’s College Past Students’ Union held its first ever Pan With The Saints production at the College, located on Pembroke Street, Port-of-Spain. Torrential rain fell the entire day but miraculously ceased just before the 5 pm start of the event, with the weather staying perfect throughout the show’s three-hour duration, so much so a semblance of a rising full moon could be seen at night.

A surprising revelation was made early in the proceedings by St Mary’s Dean Enrico Rajah, one which sent pan archivists and Pan Trinbago officials searching their memories for verification.  Rajah said he had been informed the previous Thursday, by St Mary’s alumnae Ernest Ferreira, that St Mary’s College had a school steelband in 1947. Rajah added that students of St Mary’s and St Joseph’s Convent also produced a Carnival band in 1951. Rajah said the well-beaten belief that Catholic priests outlawed the playing of the national instrument by students is a myth, and that students were neither given detention or suspended for playing pan. But, a few St Mary’s alumni, who attended the College in the ‘50s, said that they were disciplined for playing in steelbands

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