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Panorama Judging 2.0

by Jeston Lett

Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - So a few of us on Facebook have been at it with our annual post-panorama discussion, and clearly what seems to be the common thread is judging. Is there a better way? Well I've always felt there are a number of things that can be added or restructured to aid in a more transparent or qualified judging process. Will love to hear what you guys think.

Here goes:

Honestly, maybe the judges are being asked to do too much.

Let's make it simple, Change the points allocated from 100 marks to 10.

Have 9 Judges, on 3 panels of 3.

Remove the high and low, keeping the score in the middle.

Post each middle score + total on a jumbotron as soon as it is tallied.

Panel A - 8 POINTS;  Panel B - 7 POINTS;  Panel C - 7 POINTS - TOTAL = 22 POINTS

Each panel is judging something specific;

Arrangement (inclusive of rhythm), Execution / Performance and, (NEW INCLUSION) Level of difficulty.

What is this "Level of Difficulty" you ask?

Well I cannot see how a band that executes Mary had a little lamb can be judged the same as a band that equally executes Flight of the Bumble Bee. There must be a factor from the tune of choice / what the arranger did with it in terms of its complexity. Similar to many international music festivals.

No separate category for Tone.

I really don't see the need for giving an entire section of 10pts for tonal quality, especially in large band.
Let me explain. Someone asked, so you saying that tone is or should be part of arrangement? but what if the arranger is not responsible for choosing the tuner?

Most bands now have good sounding pans (tuners responsibility) if/when played correctly. If /when the band reaches on stage based on the music given (arranger) or how players hit / slam their pans (execution) the tonal quality changes it's no longer the tuners' fault. On the flip side, judges give points based on the tuner/s name on the banner. You have Birch as a tuner, regardless of how you pans ACTUALLY sound they still give 8 or 9 Points.

I've heard arrangers tell players "ring it out" or "Jam that / beat it"... And that, changes the sound of the instrument. That same band when they play at a slower pace / softer volume on the drag / when practicing sound extremely different.

Some say the judges have been spot on in the last few years, yet many patrons, players, musical experts say different. So it begs the question, should we amend the judging criteria so it's similar to what many are judging based on outside of the judging table? Is there a better way to find the best playing band in Panorama?

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