“Steelpan Month (August 1 to 31) is a precious, honourable and sacred time for the pan community,” according to the president of Pan Trinbago, the world governing body for pan, Beverly Ramsey-Moore.
“The instrument is celebrated in various ways. We want everyone to know the true fullness and resilience of pan. COVID-19 has taught us the advantage of staying optimistic and focused. We must give praise for mercies despite how small.”
Working with her mantra: “Youth is the future, and they must be empowered and given opportunities to gain experience,” much like last year, this year’s Steelpan Month is organised by a full youth arm under the purview of the central executive’s young education officer, Marcus Ash, and led by Shivonne Mitchell.
Ash said it’s the first time he’s ever worked so hard for such little pay, but the experience is a good one. “How do we account for the millions we received prior to 2018?
The organisation has no money, but there are lots of things to be done, and two high priorities are keeping pan alive and taking care of its community.
As young people now learning, we will make mistakes. I continue to learn a lot, no matter how daunting the task.
“The pan community is one of the richest communities. We just have to look closely at what we have within, and use the same energy successful conglomerates use.”
The first week of the fully virtual, month of free participation was Education that ended on August 7. The other weeks are scheduled to cover Evolution, Economical, Entertainment, closing with Appreciation.
Education included: Klimax—The Pinnacle of Steelpan, Episode 1; Tune for Tune; a Webinar on Intellectual Property, Branding, Trademarking and Contracts; Historical Steelpan; two Pan Verzuz (friendly) Challenges; and Conversations in Pan.
Klimax educated on who the longest-playing female member of any steel orchestra was, to which band, and who was the nation’s eldest active, female pannist.
A taped interview with Ramsey-Moore some weeks before her passing saw Ursula Tudor revealing her psychedelic life with pan.
She also had some knowledge to pass onto young female pannists: “No matter what your situation may be, or what’s happening around you, always respect yourself and encourage others to respect you.”
Heeding the calls of Pan Chronicles’ director, prolific pannist and arranger Duvone Stewart, “to give stalwarts/long-standing artistes their flowers before they go instead of posthumously, Tudor received hers from Pan Trinbago during that interview.”
Tune for Tune showcased: Caribbean Airlines Skiffle, webinar embraced Enrico Camejo and Dianne McNichol-Stephenson, Historical Steelpan featured positive steelband activities, Pan Verzuz, in tribute to Dr Pelham Goddard and Ray Holman, respectively, presented Aquila Perreira and Emmanuel Joseph, and Tyeesha Alexander and Tiajuana Hernandez, and guests on Conversations in Pan—Youth Forum, were Ash and Obadele Alick. The regional offices are also making their personal contributions to the month.
Pan Trinbago said it is humbled by the viewership and response to donations benefiting its Social Prosperity Fund and is eternally grateful for every type of contribution towards and support for Steelpan Month.