Pandemonium and Panache 2024: National Small Conventional Semi-Finals Ignite Victoria Square!

Port-of-Spain's Victoria Square pulsated with the vibrant heartbeat of the steelpan last night as the National Small Conventional Steelpan Bands semi-finals brought thirty bands to the stage. From dusk till past midnight, the air hummed with anticipation, punctuated by the sweet, rhythmic symphony of the pan.

Though Motown Steel Orchestra, slotted at number six, opted out at the eleventh hour, twenty-nine bands battled it out, each vying for a coveted spot in the Panorama finals. The judges, tasked with the monumental responsibility of deciphering this tapestry of musical brilliance, deliberated until well after the clock struck twelve. Finally, at 1:15 am, the silence broke with the announcement of the fifteen finalists, sending waves of delight and, inevitably, whispers of disappointment throughout the square.

New East Side Dimension emerged victorious with their rendition of "Toco Band," arranged by Kersh Ramsey, earning them a resounding 277 points and the top spot. The crowd erupted in cheers, celebrating the band's mastery and the sheer joy of music that had transcended the late-night setting.

But as is the nature of any competition, discontentment murmured alongside the applause. Supporters of bands that narrowly missed the cut expressed their disappointment, a reminder of the immense pressure and sacrifice poured into each performance.

Yet, through it all, the undeniable magic of the pan reigned supreme. Every band, regardless of the score, poured their hearts onto the stage, weaving tales of cultural heritage and national pride through the resonant voices of their pans. They painted sonic landscapes, each note pulsating with the spirit of Trinidad and Tobago, leaving the audience breathless and yearning for more.

One thing is certain: the semi-final competition may be over, but the echoes of last night's performances will linger long after the final note fades. Victoria Square witnessed a celebration of the steelpan, a testament to the unwavering passion and dedication of steel band musicians who, year after year, breathe life into our national instrument.

Now, we turn our eyes to the finals, where fifteen bands will take to the stage, each vying for the ultimate prize. But regardless of who takes home the coveted title, one thing is clear: the journey to the finals has already been a victory for the pan, for music, and for the soul of Trinidad and Tobago.

So, let the pan reign supreme! On to the finals on January 12th. 2024 and let the sweet steel symphony continue!

Here are the results from last night's competition:

 1st. T&TEC New East Side Dimension - Toco Band - 277 points

 2nd. La Horquetta Pan Groove - Spring Garden On Fire - 274

 3rd. Fusion Steel - Free Up - 273

 3rd. Tokyo Steel Orchestra - Free Up - 273

 5th. Uptown Fascinators - Chutney Bacchanal - 272

 6th. Golden Hands Steel Orchestra - Tension - 272

 6th. T&T Defence Force - Ben Lion - 271

 8th. Arima Golden Symphony - Doh Back Back - 269

 8th. St. Margaret's Superstars - Somebody - 269

10th. Tobago Pan-Thers - Teaser - 267

11th. Fascinators Pan Symphony - Deputy - 266

11th. Panasonic Connection - Ragga Ragga - 266

13th. Harvard Harps - Dead or Alive - 265

13th. Our Boys - Say Say - 265

13th. Roadblock - Jahaji Bhai - 265

16th. Highlanders - Engine Room - 263

17th. Alpha Pan Pioneers - Both Ah Dem - 262

18th. West Stars - Sing In She Party - 260

19th. Nu Stars - We Just Can't Go On Like This - 257

20th. West Side Symphony - Free Up - 256

21st. Plymouth Steel/Bethesda Sensations - Is Thunder - 255

21st. Simple Song - Nah Leaving - 255

23rd. Kalomo Kings - Nobody Go Run Me - 255

24th. Crown Cordaans - Say Say - 253

24th. Cadenza Steel Orchestra - Engine Room - 253

26th. Augmented Groove Orchestra - Good Morning - 252

27th. Perfect Cadence - Guitar Pan - 251

28th. Old Tech Steel Orchestra - Spring Garden On Fire - 247

29th. Jay Notes - 235

Motown Steel Orchestra withdrew from the competition. They were originally scheduled to play in position number six.

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♫Please click the music player button below to listen now (a small triangle in the Music player/TV Frame).
From last night: The Complete performances courtesy WACK Radio/TV can be viewed below.

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