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Starlift claims historic 22nd Panorama title

Starlift claims historic 22nd Panorama title

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Numbers are important to the Starlift Steel Orchestra and they keep racking them up in fine style.

On Thursday, July 6, the orchestra, with the most wins for any steel orchestra in the world, claimed its 22nd Panorama title during the annual competition, which was held as part of the 40th anniversary of Vincy Mas in July.

Starlift this year celebrated its 50th anniversary and on show night at the Victoria Park, with an energetic performance of Alston “Becket” Cyrus’s “Narnie Revival,” the band beat last year’s winner, the FLOW Sion Hill Euphonium Steel Orchestra, into second place.

And band captain Roddy Dowers told SEARCHLIGHT if Starlift did not win this year, it would have been a huge disappointment for them, as they wanted the top place to mark their 50th anniversary and for everyone who has passed through Starlift over the past 50 years to be proud.

“We actually consider if we had not won it would have been a disaster…we win the most Panorama in the world,” said Dowers.

The band’s captain said the orchestra has been involved in Panorama since 1970 and this year marks 22 times that they have won. He said they have not entered every year since 1970 and there was not a Panorama every year since then, but once they entered they have showed some sort of dominance.

Dowers noted that the group of 67 players had an attack of nerves going into the competition, not knowing what to expect from Sion Hill, whom they consider their greatest competition.

“…We played second and we considered Sion Hill as our main opposition and they played first, so after we heard them, we knew we had the ammunition to deal with them,” said Dowers, who praised their arranger Duvonne Stewart.

Now that Starlift has achieved one of their main goals for 2017, Dowers said they will now focus on their other initiatives, which include their summer programme, which begins this month and several open-air concerts (the biggest one being in December).

This year, the group also produced a J’Ouvert band, dubbed “Class of 1967”. Dowers said that the venture was not pursued for monetary gain, but to celebrate their anniversary.

Flow Sion Hill Euphonium, in second place, did Alston “Becket” Cyrus’s “Horn Fuh Dem”. The band had 65 players and Seion Gomez as their arranger, with Tillal Webb as their captain.

Coming in third was Winfresh South East Steel Orchestra, with “Pan Jam” from the band X-A-Dus. Marla Nanton was the band’s arranger and Kevon Guy, the captain. They had 70 players on competition night.

In fourth place was the Symphonix Steel Orchestra, with Poorsah’s, “Hairy Bank”. Symphonix had as their arranger Jomoro “Jomo” Francis and as captain Earlston Cruickshank. They had 30 players.

In fifth place was the Elite Steel Orchestra with Johnny Rebel and Blaksand’s “Come follow me”. Jamal Gibbs was the arranger and Angus Browne the captain. That band was 25 players strong.

The judges were Joffre Venner (SVG), Junior Sutherland (SVG), Ian Glaude (SVG-USA), Soluna Garnes (Trinidad) and Andy Chichester (Grenada).(LC)

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