Steel panners shine at London parade

A group which has made Cayman proud on many occasions with their musical talents has done it again.

Steel band in London

John Gray High School Steel Band team members.
Photo: Submitted.

John Gray High School Steel band recently had the honour of performing before a crowd of 550,000 when they took part in London’s New Year’s Day Parade.

Competing with more than 10,000 performers the group brought their own unique talent in Caribbean rhythms soca, reggae and calypso to the well-attended event.

Starting from Wednesday, 27 December, the group of 20 embarked on a self-guided walk along the route of the parade, toured some of London’s famous landmarks, enjoyed national dishes and rehearsed for the concert.

On the big parade day the group departed the hotel for the assembly area on Millbank, alongside the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. There, a team of parade stewards assisted the group with finding their truck, decorations and setting up of the band.

At midday the parade started and for two miles down the parade route the group gave Londoners a taste of Caribbean rhythms while enjoying the unique experience.

At 4pm the group departed by coach to Whitehall Place to prepare for a performance at Lord Mayor of Westminster reception.

The group returned to Cayman on 2 January.

Their visit was made possible with the help of Cayman National and other patrons in the community.

The band has been in existence since the early 1990s. It is comprised of senior high school students who undertake this exercise purely as an extra curricular activity in the school. Its overseas tours have included trips to Chicago, Florida and Spain.

The band, which is very popular with locals and visitors, is under the direction of Eustace Francis.