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The World

Published on January 17th, 2017 | by Ray Funk and Andrew Martin - Trinidad Guardian Newspapers

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Young Pan Players

Youth are the future of pan, and with this motivation Pan Trinbago, as part of the International Conference and Panorama started a week of events on August 3 with a youth empowerment programme.  Over 50 teen representatives drawn from steelbands spread across the country converged on the engineering auditorium at UWI for a forum to challenge them and their role in pan into the future. The interactive event featured talks, panel discussions, and video clips. Pan Trinbago president Keith Diaz challenged the group to step forward, to play an active role in pan; and step forward they did. The youth were not shy and participation was spirited.

Diaz recounted and described pan history and the struggles of pan players as well as opportunities presented by pan. Inspired by the event, the youth were eager to become involved and to assert leadership roles in their own steelbands and from there, move on to Pan Trinbago and the wider steelband community. The youth empowerment forum at the International Conference and Panorama offered representatives a chance for their voice and perspective to be heard and acted upon. Engaged youth representatives peppered Diaz with questions and many expressed frustrations with the management of their bands. Concerns ranged from the lack of communications skills to the marginalisation of youth in band decision-making.

Another discussion panel featured a spirited discussion of important (and always controversial) subject of Panorama judging. Three leading judges for Junior Panorama, Vanessa Headley (arranger for Golden Hands and soon to be judge at Notting Hill Panorama in England), Akua Leith (graduate student in pan at Northern Illinois), and Kareen Brown (captain of the National Steel Symphony Orchestra) addressed the youth and fielded questions regarding the difficulty of judging Panorama judge.  Writing clear, articulate, and useful comments is a more difficult task than one might assume and Headley stressed the importance of judges taking the time to listen to the calypsoes numerous times ahead of the competition in order to properly judge the arranger’s skill. Headley also talked to the importance of “critiquing positively” to encourage bands.

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