The sweet sound of pan echoed through many villages in St. Paul’s as the FLOW Commancheros Steel Orchestra took to the streets last week Sunday in what could be considered as a carnival-like celebration.
The street parade marked the public launch of the 50th anniversary of Commancheros, which is the reigning National Panorama Champions in both the junior and senior.
Chairman of the 50th anniversary celebration, George “Goatie” Robinson outlined specific areas for the Golden Anniversary Celebration, which climaxes in the month of October.
The major activities take place during the first week of October commencing on October 1st with a Church Service at the Church of our Lady of the Holy Rosary at Roxborough, St. Paul’s.
Members who have made an impact on the band over the past 50 years will be recognised at a grand dinner and awards ceremony on Saturday, October 14th.
Culture Minister, Senator Brenda Hood who graced the occasion with her presence said she is proud with the work that the band has been doing over the years.
Sen. Hood pointed out that 50 years is a significant milestone that speaks to the strength and dynasty of any organization.
The female government minister believes Commancheros needs to be highly commended for its long outstanding record of community development through the culture of the pan movement in St. Paul’s.
Member of Parliament for the area, Works Minister Gregory Bowen spoke of the steel orchestra having advanced by leaps and bounds.
Minister Bowen said the band’s success is the community’s success, and was looking forward to great things in the future, and to the regularity of those great things.
Commancheros, for the past 26 years has been receiving sponsorship from one particular telecommunication provider, and Juan Bailey who is FLOW Regional Sales Director saluted the success of the band.
Bailey indicated that for 50 years FLOW Commancheros provided a platform for growth and development.
Interim President of the Grenada Steel Band Association, David “Peck” Edwards indicated that FLOW Commancheros has stood the test of times.
Edwards said Commancheros is not just a simple steel orchestra, but it represents the pride and joy of the people of St. Paul’s.
“Moreso, it represents an organisation that has become a major cultural institution that has impacted on the lives of many… The name Commancheros transcends the boundaries of Grenada, as far as the Diaspora,” he told the ceremony.
Former Parliamentary Representative for the area, Dr. Francis Alexis announced an increase in the number of scholarships that is provided by the Foster Gittens Memorial Foundation.
Dr. Alexis said the Foster Gittens Memorial Foundation has been running a scholarship programme since 1985 for the young people in and around St. Paul’s, and has been awarding five scholarships annually to institutions such as the Grenada Boys Secondary School, Anglican High School, St. Joseph’s Convent, St. George’s, Wesley College, the Presentation Brothers College.
“To mark your 50th anniversary, we, the Directors, have decided (that) we are going to increase our scholarships for each student per year by $100 starting this year,” he said.
Leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Senator Nazim Burke who brought congratulatory message on behalf of his organisation said the contribution Cheros is making to the promotion of community development through pan and culture must be recognised.
A number of solidarity messages were read from several groups including the mass band association that congratulated Cheros on the occasion of 50 years of steel band music.
Pastor Selwyn Hayling noted that Cheros has risen from a community level and has made its mark on the national and international level.
The religious figure Hayling prayed that the 50th anniversary will serve as a time for Cheros to redefine its purpose for affecting lives and changing lives, and helping in the development aspects of the community.
Recognition was given to the fallen heroes who were instrumental in the success of the band.
The celebration is being held under the theme, “Celebrating 50 years of outstanding community development through pan culture.”