History of the Band

Our Inception

Several steelbands have been on the UWI Mona Campus since the 1950s. Their evolution led to the official formation of Panoridim. In 1977 UWI Steel Orchestra (our former self) presented their first formal concert, entitled ‘Pan-O-Rhythm’. Later that year the common pronunciation of 'pan-o-ridim' was incorporated into the name of the band, which is now formally UWI Panoridim Steel Orchestra.

Previous bands, which had many Caribbean nationals, operated on a part-time basis, closing during the summer or after the Carnival season. Panoridim however become a full-time band in the late 1970’s, operating year-long due to the increased number of Jamaicans in the band and a strong graduate presence. The band was almost all male then.

Introduction of the semester system in 1990

Prior to the semester system, students did not begin serious studies for exams until March or April. This left at least five clear months to lyme and play pan within the school year. With the semester system however, there were major tests every 3-4 weeks, which severely affected practice time and the ability to take playouts. This initially strained the band's membership.

The exodus in 1991

An exodus of key members occurred in 1991 and Humming Birds Steel Orchestra was formed. Panoridim was left with only a few core members. This lowered the moral of the remaining members and, coupled with the new semester system, made recruitment of new members very difficult.

Over time however, the band was able to rebuild its membership and most student players learned how to effectively balance pan and study. The time constraints still limited the band's ability to accept engagements but a very strong graduate membership helped bolster consistent numbers.

More females in the yard

As with its counterparts in Trinidad, a "rough neck" stigma was associated with Panoridim. However an increase in the female population on the campus lead to a gradual increase in the number of females in the band. As the male:female ratio changed, so did the band's character. Richard Quarless (past Music Director, Captain, and band member since Panoridim's inception) describes the panyard as a “much more civil place now”.

World Steelband Festival 2000

Panoridim entered for the first time at the WSF in Trinidad & Tobago and walked away with Bronze in their category, only 2 points shy of 2nd place, beating top bands from T&T.

No panyard in 2002

The band, housed at the Students' Union for many years, was displaced in 2001-2002 while the University reconfigured the Students' Union. During construction the band was relocated to the Dance Studio of the Philip Sherlock Centre, all while trying to keep and teach new members. As a result, Panfest 2002 never made it to the stage, but Panfest 2003 went down in history as one of the best played concert seasons.

New sections!

In 2006, the band embarked on an expansion to increase the number of pans. The expansion was completed in 2012 with the addition of a 7th section, Guitar Pans, through the sponsorship and assistance of ICWI Limited.