Spotlight On Pan Minors

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Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago – August 9, 2019. There is nothing greater than the sound of the sweet steel pan – a sentiment that the graduates of the 24th Republic Bank RightStart Pan Minors Music Literacy Programme underscored, at their graduation ceremonies held respectively on July 31 and August 2, at locations both in Trinidad and Tobago.

Armed with their pan sticks and an unparalleled confidence, the graduates delivered arrangements of popular hits, including Jaron Nurse’s Fed Up, Michelle Williams’ Say Yes, One Last Time by Ariana Grande, Farmer Nappy’s Hookin’ Meh and their own arrangements – a culmination of three weeks of intense work and dedication.

The annual three-week programme which happens concurrently at the Department of Creative and Festival Arts, Trinidad and Bishop’s High School, Tobago, was initially conceptualized by Satanand Sharma of the Centre for Creative and Festival Arts and the late Dr. Anne Marion Osborne, as a scholarship programme for the winners of the Junior Pan Minors Steel Band Competition which the Bank sponsored at that time. It has since evolved into a hub for young pannists to connect, learn and grow under the tutelage of a number of music teachers, including Glen Worrell and Dachelle Morrison – a former Pan Minors student and a recipient of the Pat Bishop Scholarship Programme.

Speaking at the Trinidad cohort’s graduation ceremony on July 31, at Daaga Hall Auditorium, valedictorian, Janessa Dawn Koon Koon of St. Joseph’s Convent POS expressed to her fellow graduates the need for them to appreciate the national instrument. “Pan is ours,” she said emphatically to her peers. Janessa was one of eight Level 3 awardees.

Over in Tobago, the programme’s coordinator, Anthony Moore boasted of the programme’s success in the sister isle and stated that there was a significant increase in enrollment as compared to previous years.

The graduates who were enrolled in the robust three-week programme were grouped into three categories based on their levels of proficiency. Last year saw the introduction of Level 3 to the 2-level programme in Trinidad, where past students were invited to enroll in Level 3 of the programme. These students were given hands on experience with the Sibelius Music Software and required to arrange and perform a musical piece at the graduation ceremony.

Arguably the most stylistically versatile instrument in the world, the graduates of this year’s Pan Minors programme underscored their future as pan ambassadors while once again making the Republic Bank RightStart Pan Minors Music Literacy Programme a great success.

August 12, 2019
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