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Amazing steel bands at 16th Amin Mohammed Steelband Festival

Local News 19 May, 2021 Follow News

Earl La Pierre Sr. received a special presentation in recognition of his great achievement in bringing Steel Pan to Cayman

UCCI’s Pandemix band received the First Prize trophy in the Open section

Micah Leon gained first place in the Junior Solo section

Prospect Primary’s A band won first place in the Primary section

John Gray High School won first place in the Junior section

Cayman Prep won first place in the Seniors section

Cayman Prep and their first place trophy for the Seniors Section

Pandemix in action for Savannah Grass

By Christopher Tobutt, John Gray High School Gymnasium

 

Steel Pan has become Cayman’s National Instrument. Thousands of children and young people, and now, older people too have learned to play thanks to Earl La Pierre, who set the fire going with his teaching and nurturing steel pan talent right back in the 1980s (and he received a special trophy in recognition of his huge contribution at the end of the evening) So of course, to make it fair, the competition had to be divided up into lots of different sections.

First came the Soloists, and Micah Leon won in the Juniors’ Division. It is very hard when you are so young to stand up in front of so many people and perform so flawlessly, and all four of them, Isaiah Myles who came second, Kezzian King who came third, and Jahlenie Rodney deserve a mention not just for their places, but just for being so brave and professional. Joshua McLean won the Seniors’ section with a wonderful rendering of From the Heart, with Ruby Pileta coming second, with her rendering of Ah trying ah Ting, and Hasani Hunt receiving the third-place trophy for his interpretation of Jerusalem.

Prospect Primary excelled in the Primary Band section. They actually has two bands, Band A which won first place with their rendering of One Love and Raga Raga – truly a delight. But their Band B won second place, too, with Triple C gaining third-place trophy. John Gray High School won the Juniors’ section, with their renditions of Imagine (one of the standards everyone in the section had to play) and We are the World. Triple C came Second, and UCCI came third.

Then there was the Seniors’ section, and our ears were all in for a real glorious treat It was as if the gates of heaven were opened and we could hear a thousand angels all playing their harps at once in perfect harmony - the sound of the tiniest silver raindrops mixed with thunder. It must have been hard for the judges to decide on the best one, but in the end it was Cayman Prep who won with ‘I Music’ (the standard) and their choice, the Prayer. UCCI Pandemix gained Second place, playing the standard and Eine Kleine Nachtmuzik, a real treat too with its contrasts of loud and soft, and the sheer joy of their performance. Triple C’s Steel Breeze band came third.

In the Open category, amazingly JGHS, who are just around 11 and 12 years old and had won the Juniors section, were brave enough to try their hands alongside the experts: UCCI Pandemix, who gained First prize with a truly amazing rendering of Savannah Grass. Triple C came second, with Trouble in the Morning. In the end JGHS came third, but it was a great try and everyone was very proud of them.


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