Some of Cayman’s finest upcoming pan players went up to Toronto for a major competition and did themselves proud.
Some 19 members of Pantastic, Pandemix and Panoramers were part of the Canadian city’s annual Caribana festival, which features a major contest with groups all around the world attending.
In the event, Cayman’s representatives, having joined up with Toronto band Afropan, missed out on the first prize by one point. Given that it was Pantastic’s first visit and that they were all age 14, this was quite an achievement, says Earl La Pierre.
“The experience was a great one for the students and a wake-up call, performing with great pan players and sometimes performing even better than the pros. A big thanks to them all; with the parents there it was a plus. Also, to me it was nice to see that all the students were well taught in Cayman and could meet any challenge where steel pan was concerned.
“I am very proud of all the steel pan players from Cayman that performed in Toronto. The competition was a great one; all of the 14 bands performed well. We came in second and lost by a point – 286 points was the winner, second place was 285 points – but we will be back in 2013 with the grace of God.”
Activities and highlights
Whilst in Canada, the children went to places like the Royal Ontario Museum, the Toronto Zoo, Niagara Falls and Wonderland, where everybody had fun, says Earl. Highlights of the trip were numerous.
“They had a great time performing at the Pan Alive competition, being part of the larger band, and playing at an outdoor stadium in front of a large crowd.
“In addition, the older students and some of the younger kids took part in the Caribana parade, riding on a float and playing pan, with more than 1 million people lining the streets,” he tells us.
Abbie McMillan says she welcomed the opportunity to be a part of it all.
“It was very exhausting as the rehearsal and playing took up so much time; however the experience was worth it and I had a great time, plus I am a much better pan player now, and can’t wait to play here at home with my new skills and experience.”
Kisha Campbell echoed those words and added that it was a great experience playing with new people ‘in an amazing city. Adam Stoner says it was a lot of fun and he believes it has made him a better pan player. He says that he is looking forward to next year. Nathan Chesney – who, like Abbie, Kisha and Adam is 14 years old, summed up the trip niftily.
“If I were to describe it in two words, it would be breath-taking experience.”
Weekender congratulates all on their hard work and continued musical endeavours. Check out what these kids can do with an exclusive video at www.cayCompass.com