Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - The Jean Pierre Complex in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad was abuzz with anticipation from the many steelpan music aficionados present to witness the 2010 edition of the Pan in the 21st Century competition. Pan in the 21st Century is one of the premiere annual steel orchestra music competitions in the world.
The show began at the advertised start time of 8:00 p.m. EST with Invaders Steel Orchestra performing an Arddin Herbert arrangement of the late great Luther Vandross’ “Dance With My Father.”
Sforzata Steel Orchestra under the musical direction of Dr. Jeannine Remy captured both the imagination of the crowd and judges, as well as the 2010 Pan in the 21st Century title and TT $100,000.00 ($15,873.00 USD) prize - with their rendition of Jazmine Sullivan’s “Bust Your Windows.” With a score of 283, the east Trinidad-based music group cleared ten points over their nearest rivals, second-placed Codrington Pan Family and Renegades steel orchestras, who tied for the position. Sforzata’s final theatrical touch of an ‘angry young woman’ taking a bat to the windscreen of a car added to their connection with the audience, and probably to their score. Jeannine Remy brought a different approach with a musical presentation based more on sonic percussive ‘colors’ than on solely rhythmic changes and melodic development.
Most of the bands opted for popular R&B-flavored songs for their selections. The stipulation that the music be chosen from 2000 onward kept the show very modern and current, a decision that apparently went over very well with the young people, who made up the bulk of the steelpan musicians in each band. The audience was also appreciative.
Though they only placed sixth, Silver Stars, who made the most daring choice of all musically with the Black Eyed Peas smash “I Gotta Feeling” - clearly enjoyed themselves on stage, with their players ‘getting into it’ the most of all the competitors for the night. Silver Stars last won the competition back in 2007. Tying with them were defending champions Skiffle Bunch steel orchestra who also only made it to sixth position.
Though possibly entertaining for some, there were many more orchestras this year ‘wandering aimlessly and applying mindless musical gymnastics’ than in the past. Now may be the time for some sound musical guidelines as to the specific expectations for the arrangers in this competition.
The event was broadcast live over the internet by Trinidad & Tobago’s i95.5fm radio station, with a delayed internet video broadcast by the country’s CTNTWorld television station.
Competition requirements stipulated the twelve orchestras take the stage with no less than thirty and no more than fifty musicians, perform a selection from the 21st century world beat repertoire from the year 2000 and beyond, and for not more than six minutes.
Steel orchestras faced the same adjudicators as they did in the preliminary round: Carl “Beaver” Henderson, Chantal Esdelle, Sherry Ann Saunders and Lambert Phillip.
The competition results are as follows:-
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