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Published on February 27th, 2014 | by WST


Triumph for Renegades Youth, QRC/Providence and St. Paul’s Boys A.C. Steel Orchestras 2014 Junior National Panorama Results

In the end there could be, only three.  Winners, that is – out of the thirty steel orchestras in three categories (Primary SchoolsSecondary  Schools and Non-Schools), which played their hearts out for judges in the 2014 edition of the National Junior Panorama at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.  Under the lights of the Grand Stand, the sun had already set as the final results were being announced.  Indeed the “happiest panists alive” at that time were probably the players of Renegades Youth Steel Orchestra, who, with their performance of Machel Montano’s popular “Happiest Man Alive,” trumped their seven co-competitors in the Non-Schools category. The exuberance displayed while the band competed, was exceeded only by the jubilation shown as the players ran on to the stage with shrieks of joy when they won.  Coming in second place and celebrating almost as much were members of Invaders Youth Steel Orchestra who happily hoisted arranger Jamal “Meck Meck” Gibbs on their shoulders.

Renegades Youth Steel Orchestra had taken the stage with the full complement allowed—sixty-five players—all aged seven through twenty-one.  With ten members less, but with just as full a sound, Invaders Youth Steel Orchestra’s age-group mirrored that of Renegades Youth. The surprise placing in the category came with the relegation of the defending champions Success Stars Pan Sounds to sixth place despite a very strong performance. The group had been seeking a fourth consecutive title having won in20132012 and 2011, and had returned with the previously winning formula, of playing an original composition both penned and performed by arranger Mickiel Gabriel on each of those occasions.  Gabriel was very proud of the steel orchestra’s accomplishments and the opportunity to share their talents.  “We dedicated this performance to our community of Laventille, because we wanted to show everybody that good things come out of Laventille, so our entire performance was dedicated to our community” declared Gabriel firmly.

For QRC/Providence in the Secondary School Category—utilizing instruments graciously loaned to them by Pandemonium Steel Orchestra—it was an entire series of “firsts.”  The band won their category; they played in first position; it was the first time this collaboration had come about for the Junior Panorama, that of Queen’s Royal College (QRC) and Providence Girls, and by default the first time that the band worked with arranger Koreece Graham. And victory belonged to the QRC/Providence Steel Orchestra even after judges had heard the nine other orchestras which followed in their wake.  And despite having the category’s top score coming into the competition, St. Francois Girls’ Steel Orchestra which won the Secondary School Category in 2013and 2012 had to settle for fourth place this year.

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