The Starlift Steel Orchestra welcomed another thirty–seven new pan players, as it concluded another training exercise for youngsters entering the artform.
Most of the lot were officially presented with their certificates last Saturday, September 03, at a Graduation Ceremony held at the band’s base at Old Montrose.
The enthusiastic and well drilled trainees showed off what they had learnt over the weeks of introduction, under the tutelage of Kingsley ‘Hero’ Roberts.
The trainees rendered interpretations of Louis Armstrong’s ‘What a Wonderful World’ and the Hawkins Singers’ ‘Oh Happy Days’, much to the delight and approval of those present.
Their dexterity and skill were praised by Mitchell Israel, the Featured Speaker, a graduate of the Starlift Training programme.
Inducting the new players, Israel, currently pursuing studies in medicine, informed, “You could not have chosen a better steel orchestra to start your musical journey with.”
He shared some of his personal experiences and provided advice.
“To improve at it you must put in the time while remaining focused on other things that are important in your life … This will assist you in developing superior time management abilities,” Israel told the graduating class.
Giving balance to his comments, Israel said, “However, there are definitely some times that we have to take a break from pan… Pan is like doing school work away from school (so) if you are behind you will see the negative effects coming into play … This can also apply to your school work; this is how playing pan teaches you discipline”.
Israel’s remarks followed previous speakers Roddy Dowers, Captain of the Starlift Steel Orchestra; Rodney Small- President of the Youlou Pan Movement; Hon. St Claire Leacock- Parliamentary Representative for Central Kingstown; and former Culture Minister – Ms Rene Baptiste.
Last Saturday’s Graduation Ceremony was twinned with that of the Hero’s Pantastic Music Academy. Sixteen persons participated in the Academy’s programme, that ran concurrently with the Starlift Training Programme.
This year, 2022, marks the 55th anniversary of the existence of the Starlift Steel Orchestra.