By Lincoln DePradine
Officials of the Ontario Steelpan Association (OSA) say they expect patrons to be thrilled this year to enjoy two pan competitions on the same night as part of the 2019 Toronto Caribbean Carnival.
OSA is reintroducing a non-calypso bands’ contest, traditionally referred to the “Bomb Tune’’ competition. As well, bands also will be participating in the annual Pan Alive Panorama.
“The mere fact we’re bringing back two songs, the audience will feel like their night was more like an experience where they can relate to certain songs,’’ said OSA president Terrence Wilson. “They will appreciate the show more and want to come back.’’
Nine steel orchestras will participate in the competitions on Friday, August 2, 6 pm, at Lamport Stadium, 1155 King Street West.
Prizes for first, second and third places will be awarded to bands in the “Bomb Tune’’ competition, in which each orchestra will perform songs – including compositions by The Beatles and Drake – for a maximum of five minutes.
“It’s a mature crowd that, more or less, supports the pan and they may recognize a tune that they can relate to,’’ said Wilson.
The Pan Alive Panorama – in which Pan Fantasy will be seeking its eighth consecutive title – awards prizes to all competitors. Each band has a performance time of no more than eight minutes.
“Some bands will not be playing songs in the two competitions. But whichever competition the bands play in, they will be judged,’’ Wilson told The Caribbean Camera.
He explained that reintroducing the two-song event, with a non-calypso segment, was “something we have been having conversations with the bands for the last two years’’.
Wilson described the “Bomb Tune’’ rendition as “more of a lavway jam kind of vibes. You don’t need to put all that effort into it; but, at the same time, it’s all about sweetness. The music must be sweet and people must be able to relate to it’’.
Ahead of the competitions, a steelpan judge from Trinidad will be conducting a workshop for arrangers and young musicians with an interest in becoming steelband arrangers.
OSA, like other carnival stakeholders, is receiving a reduction in funding this year over previous years from the Festival Management Corporation, which oversees and runs the carnival.
Financing, according to Wilson, is a “big challenge’’ for steelbands. He said, however, that OSA “is pushing very hard to get the funding in a timely manner’’ for the bands preparing for the August 2 competitions.