BPTT nurtures future pan arrangers

"Many, many young people are able to use these workshops to realise their dreams"

Thursday, July 24, 2014

PASSIONATE and determined, 16-year old music student Toyanna Carlow has her sights set firmly on becoming a future champion Panorama arranger. For now, though, her goal is to convince the authorities at Corpus Christi College, Diego Martin, which she attends, that she should be the arranger for the school’s steelband in next year’s Junior Panorama competition.

Leaving no stone unturned in her quest to achieve her ambition, Carlow attended the fundamentals of arranging at a two-week Panorama Arranging Workshop organised by the Pan-in-Schools Coordinating Council in partnership with energy company BP Trinidad and Tobago. 

“I have been playing the pan for 12 years now. I picked it up from my brother and loved it at the outset. I like all kinds of music, not only pan. I want to be an all-rounder with other instruments, arranging, composing and producing music. Of course, I want to arrange for a Panorama band and come out on top in the future. But for now, I hope to arrange for the Junior Panorama for my college in 2015,” said a positive Carlow, during a break on Thursday in the workshop conducted at Tranquility Government Primary School.

A go-getter, Carlow is awaiting the results of her recent music examinations at CXC level and is pursuing private studies with the Royal School of Music. She sees the Panorama Arranging Workshop as a major stepping stone in fulfilling her ambitions. “We are really getting first-hand insights as to how a Panorama tune should be arranged. I intend to take what I learn here back to my school so others can benefit. Between now and Panorama next year I hope to convince my teachers that I am capable of arranging for my school,” said a confident Carlow.

Toyanna Carlow is one of 16 select participants of the Panorama Arranging Workshop which is just one component of four workshops conducted throughout Trinidad and Tobago under the bpTT-PSCC initiative, now in its 10th year.

Facilitator of the Tranquility workshop was Michelle Huggins-Watts, herself a Panorama championship winning arranger. She is assisted by music tutor Akeel Henry.

“We have a very talented group of people at the workshop. They are very passionate about their music and have demonstrated the drive to reach the very top of the ladder. If they keep this up, I am sure that the future of our music, and Panorama, is in extremely good hands,” said an enthusiastic Huggins-Watt.

Joel Primus, Community Sustainability and Stakeholder Relations Adviser, bpTT, said that the music workshops ensure that the pan movement is in good hands. “Participation at these workshops augurs well for the future of the country’s indigenous music and for the young people of Trinidad and Tobago. BPTT, he assured, stood fully in support of the ‘future custodians’ of the national instrument.

BP Trinidad and Tobago has a longstanding association with the steelband fraternity, stretching back more than four decades to the 1970s through its sponsorship of multiple Panorama champions, BP Renegades.

PSCC coordinator Stacy Alcantara said the annual workshops have been highly successful, with several participants moving on to arrange music for bands participating in the Panorama competition in recent years. “We have to commend bpTT for partnering with us in this initiative for the past 10 years. Many, many young people are able to use these workshops to realise their dreams,” said Alcantara.