The UK Junior Panorama on Monday 14 August in St Mark’s Park, Notting Hill, was a fantastic showcase of young talent. I had not been to this Panorama in years, but from the comments I heard in the park it was obvious that the standard of music had far exceeded that of previous years. Debi Gardner, British Association of Steelbands (BAS) secretary and adjudicator, commented: “Junior Panorama was the best it’s ever been.”
Members of Ebony Steelband Junior band came out in large numbers. It was clear they had been rehearsing intensively, as the song was ‘tight’ and their performance outstanding. David Ijaduola had produced a beautiful arrangement. David is a rising star and at just 27 years old he has been taking home a minimum of three BAS awards annually over the past three years.
In second place was Pan Nation, which showcased the conventional sweet, sweet harmonies that band manager and music arranger Chris Storey is well known for.
Sussex Steel one of my personal favourites – reached third place, while in fourth position was Croydon Steel Orchestra, which had a four-year-old in its percussion section. A five-year-old girl playing the double second steelpan for CSO had the audience gasping in amazement; at the end of the competition she received a well-deserved personal trophy for her efforts. Northern Steel Orchestra placed fifth and Metronomes Steel Orchestra took sixth place.
Judge Debra Romain commented on, “the excellent display of musicality, raised standards, and I fully enjoyed the day”. Also on the judging panel was Marlon Hibbert, manager of Endurance Steel Orchestra, based in south London.
Junior Panorama always take place on the second Monday in August and is organised by BAS in partnership with the Children and Parents Carnival Association (CAPCA). There is a children’s carnival in the park before the competition, which this year included a performance by Nostalgia Steel Band.
The day ended with National Panorama champions Ebony Steelband performing their victory song. The volume was deliciously loud and I was so excited to hear it once more!