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All Stars captain lauds band’s youths

We worked really hard
Sunday, February 15, 2015
Members of the Massy Trinidad All Stars frontline during their performance of Unquestionable in the National Panorama final at Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain. Photo: JEFF MAYERS

Captain and general manager of nine-time National Panorama champion Massy Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra, Beresford Hunte, is lauding the youths of the band for staying true to the task of concluding the 2015 competition series with another well-deserved victory. 

While the work required to defeat defending champion Phase II Pan Groove on Saturday was a way of life for the veterans, he said helping the youths become focused and staying true to the band’s ideals was the biggest challenge each time All Stars presented its work to the panel of music adjudicators. “We feel elated. We worked hard, too!” he said after the results were announced.

“We have been working hard for some weeks now, since we started the rehearsals for 2015. Some days we went as late at 3.30 am. Hard work pays. This is the result of the sort of work that we did.” As fate would have it,  All Stars was already in celebration mode as the organisation observes its 80th anniversary. 

Hunte said this was mere coincidence, and while the band was happy with the title its work was not done. He said they also had the George Bailey Band of the Year title to defend in the National Carnival Bands Association Parade of Bands Competition on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. “The Lord is smiling on us,” he said. At the band’s annual Christmas dinner last December, Hunte underscored the need to continue to work hard and urged the youths to extract the positive from the elders.

“I hope this inspired some of them. It might not inspire all, but this is something that will assist them in the remainder of their lives, because hard work pays. “Whatever endeavour you choose you have to work hard for it. You have to be good at whatever you do,” he told the T&T Guardian.  Victory number nine for Trinidad All Stars bore special significance across the steelband spectrum.

The band now has one victory more than Phase II, but an equal number of titles with BP Renegades. By dethroning Phase II Pan Groove, All Stars was able to preserve the historic hat-trick of wins achieved by Renegades 18 years ago.

Renegades disappointed

BP Renegades Steel Orchestra president Michael Marcano said it was difficult for him to comment on the results as he did not get a chance to witness the bands that got the better of his. “I know that my performance was par excellence. I was disappointed,” he said. “I know I had a winning performance. I have to go along with the judges’ decision. One of the things that I know for certain was we had cleared up all that muddy passages and so on. 

“We drilled it and the band was clear and precise. That’s why I felt it was a winning performance. We have to go and come again, look at the video of the other bands sometime during the year and do our own post-mortem and note on where we went wrong.” Liam Teague, arranger for PCS Nitrogen Silver Stars, which tied with Renegades and Republic Bank Exodus, expressed delight that he was able to partner with the pan players to see the band make a climb back to the top three positions.

“I am not a huge fan of Panorama as a competition,” he said. “I love the event. I love the celebration of music. To work with such a wonderful group of people and musicians, and most importantly to pay homage to (the late) Edwin Pouchet in a way that has integrity, it means a lot. So I am very, very pleased.” This was his second consecutive arranging contract with brand Silver Stars. Last year, the band placed sixth. “We can’t take that third place for granted. The results could have been worst. 

“Tying with Renegades and Exodus…wonderful music, I am proud. Teamwork is very important,” Teague said. “A lot of things were done behind the scenes and many times we see the end result, we don’t see the process.” Pan Elders vice-captain Gregory Smith said it was good to win a second consecutive medium band title. He said it was very easy to keep the young players in the band focused because everybody knew what they have to do and the end result is victory.

Smith said the arranger chose the song and the band had fate in him. “I have not slept. Sleeping is for losers. The band was scheduled to resume practice tonight (yesterday) for J’Ouvert in San Fernando and Carnival Monday steelband competition,” he said.


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