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Switzerland

Published on April 26th, 2016 | by Brigitte Fischer

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PANCH – Swiss Steelband Association’s Annual Assembly

PANCH, the Swiss Steelband Association, held their annual PANCH Day on the 20th March 20, 2016. This included the General Assembly and an annual presentation of the PANCH award, established in 2005 and awarded to a personality who has rendered outstanding service to steelpan music in Switzerland.

The event started with the traditional president’s punch (not PANCH), where honorary president Pit Zünd invites everybody to have a rum and coke. This is the icebreaker before the start of the General Assembly.

Brigitte Fischer, Panch’s President, opened the GA giving an annual account of their activities, which included.

  • Organising Workshops.
  • The publication and circulation of four issues of ‘PANCH Info’, their magazine
  • Non-participation in the Festival and International Panorama in T&T in 2015. Switzerland did not succeed to contribute a steelband project for this event owing to the following:
    • Time constraints, as August was not optimal.
    • Financial constraints as it was a large sum of money to be raised and spent, this in relation with only one public performance playing only one tune: This didn’t seem reasonable (A festival formula with three pieces classic, calypso and test piece would be more reasonable).
    • The long journey,
    • Steelpan in Switzerland has been running slow for a few years. It needs a lot of commitment and energy to organise a big project like this one.
    • Substantial Information about the event was received late.
  • Panch organized events for steel bands to get together, play and lime.
  • As there is only one resident professional tuner in Switzerland currently, Esa Tervala, last year’s holder of the PANCH Award. Panch appealed to the members to work together with him and support him. Noting that steelbands should have their pans serviced regularly.
  • Brigitte Fischer resigned from the Presidency but remains as a member of the board. As no one has been identified as a replacement the post remains vacant. Pit Zünd gave a laudatory speech for Brigitte.
  • The 2016 PANCH Award went to Tamla Batra with Martin Grah delivering the speech for Tamla’s award. Both, Tamla and Brigitte, got standing ovations from the members present.

It is a tradition that the award winner plays after the prize giving and Tamla decided to play his double tenors with Rhythm and Steel, a small professional steelband that he plays with regularly. Other members of the band are Martin Grah (Tenor, Single Second), Martin R. Lehner (Single Second), Daniel Canzani (Double Bass) and Enzo Lopardo (Drums).

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Tamla invited his long standing Trinidadian friend, Gary Padmore, on stage to accompany them in a couple of tunes on his tenor pan. The first musical set brought the audience to their feet as they felt the music that was been played with Tamla  giving an heart felt emotional display filled with energy.

Everybody enjoyed the music, danced or tapped their feet. A historic occasion to hear Tamla and Gary play together as Gary immigrated to the USA.


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