UWI Panoridim to compete against T&T bands

Published in The Jamaica Gleaner: Wednesday | July 22, 2015 by Shereita Grizzle

In August, steel bands from all over the world will come together in Trinidad as the country plays host to the inaugural staging of the International Panorama Competition. Jamaica will be represented by the UWI Panoridim Steel Orchestra.

Steel bands will compete against 12 of the host country's best bands in a bid to cop the coveted title of champions at the first ever International Panorama contest. With 'panyard' on the UWI Mona campus, Jamaica's UWI Panoridim Steel Orchestra is the longest-running and largest steel band in Jamaica, and is the only band most similar in size, style and function to the medium bands in Trinidad and Tobago.

only band from Jamaica

The 45-player Panoridim band is led by Angela Gay Magnus and they are the only band from Jamaica that will be entering the first staging of the International Panorama Competition, to be held between August 8-9. They will perform a piece by Jamaican arranger, Orane Shaw, titled The 10 Commandments of Pan.

Samantha Williams, assistant musical director and public relations officer for the band, told The Gleaner, that the opportunity is a big deal for all the members, one they are taking very seriously.

"This is a truly an exciting opportunity for the band," she said. "It's a big deal and we're serious about it. It is great that we get to represent our country, and on a stage with some of the best bands in the world. We get to show them that we are the best by competing with the best." Panoridim has competed twice in the World Steelband Festivals hosted in Trinidad, and in 2000, they received a third place trophy for their Quartet entry.

UWI Panoridim is a 26-piece steel orchestra that aims to widen the appreciation and scope of steel pan music in Jamaica and they are hoping that a win would get more and more Jamaicans to join the steel pan movement.

"Winning the competition would be like winning an Olympic medal for us, it's that important," said Williams. "We've noticed that over the years there has been a growing appreciation for steel pan in Jamaica and hopefully a win would get more persons on board. We would love to see the emergence of more and more bands in Jamaica."

Although the band has managed to gain some funds through their sponsors from the University of the West Indies, The Insurance Company of the West Indies Limited and the CHASE Fund, the members of Panoridim are still seeking additional funding to cover expenses for uniforms and other miscellaneous items.