Story and photo by Lara Pickford-Gordon, email@example.com
The students of Rosary Boys’ RC will play for the first time in today’s National Junior Panorama competition at the Queen’s Park Savannah after being judged on Friday, January 26.
The Catholic News was at the school for the judges scheduled visit at 11.20 a.m. The 31 members, under the watchful eyes of band leader Jason Lewis and arranger Akiel George, got through a final rehearsal of ‘Far From Finished’ by Aaron ‘Voice’ St Louis. The piece is greeted with vibrant applause from relatives present, and whistles and whoops from their peers. At 11.25 a.m. the bell rings. Although the judges are close, finding a parking spot has delayed them.
The players gather near the percussion section. Lewis appeals for them to “listen”. This will be his last talk before judging. He reminds them at the call of “position” to pick up their sticks, “do not cross your legs when standing”, listen for the count when to begin playing. He encourages them to dance, smile and enjoy themselves.
His talk is halted by the recitation of the Grace before Meals. “Do not play please. Who have to go to the bathroom, go!”
11.39 a.m. Lewis orders the boys to get behind their respective pans as the judges are coming in. “The judges are here, put away that!” he tells a boy eating a slice of pizza. “Remember the crescendo. Focus. Forget everything outside; forget everything upstairs. Do not slam the pans; play the pans.” Aware that the boys must be anxious, he encourages them, “Just relax”.
The judges are seated at a table with score sheets before them. The cacophony of the school yard has given way to a hush. Lewis’ four knocks on a pan and the tune begins. The first notes are low as the boys bow into their pans then there is a burst as they raise their heads. The volume and tempo picks up.
The boys concentrate on playing the right notes. They have forgotten to smile but not the spectators on the sidelines who are chipping and capturing the moment on their camera phones. The performance is done at 12.05 p.m. Cheers commend the presentation while the judges look on impassively. After a minute or so, the tune is played again. Sweat is visible on their brows and polo jerseys when it is over.
The four judges depart at 12.14 p.m. Lewis said four minutes and 45 seconds of music has been prepared. While the players are ‘green’ he commented, “I feel very good from where they started to now.”
From a field of 22 primary and 15 secondary schools, the Education Ministry announced on January 26 that 12 primary and 9 secondary schools made today’s finals.
The other primary school finalists are: Tac Pres Treble Makers (Tacarigua Presbyterian Primary), St Mary’s Government Primary, St Margaret’s Boys’ Anglican (defending champions), Guaico Presbyterian Primary, Malabar RC Steel Orchestra, Couva Anglican Primary, St Paul’s Boys’ Anglican Primary, Bien Venue Presbyterian, Fifth Company Rising Stars, Carenage Boys’ Government Primary and Point Fortin Anglican.
Secondary finalists: St Francois Girls’ College, NAPS Combined, BATCE (Bishop Anstey Trinity College East), St Joseph’s Convent (St Joseph) ‘Lil Gems’, Trinity College, Providence/QRC, South East Secondary, Goodwood Secondary and East Mucurapo Secondary.