Republic Bank Angel Harps – 13 times national panorama champions of Grenada – is endeavouring to assist local pannists acquire formal musical knowledge and skills.
The Tanteen-based orchestra, which is Grenada’s oldest steelband, is also recruiting new players to its ranks.
A group of 16 pannists drawn from Harps, 2012 panorama champions Coyaba New Dimensions, and Pan Ossia, recently sat and passed grades one to three examinations in the theory of music.
Andy Chichester, a musician and senior member and arranger with Angel Harps, tutored 15 students that included 12 from Harps.
One pannist of New Dimensions was tutored by Kenneth Mark, senior cultural officer in the Ministry of Culture.
The exams, invigilated locally by Jerome Mc Barnette, were graded by the Royal School of Music in England.
Almost three quarters of the students passed with distinction and four with merit.
“This is an ongoing thing that started in 2004/2005 when I came back to Grenada after studying,’’ Chichester said.
“In the past, we’ve had players from other bands such as Rainbow City All Stars and Suzuki Pan Wizards taking the classes. We plan to continue with further upgrades for those who have sat and passed the exams, and also to recruit new ones into music study program”, he added.
Meanwhile, Angel Harps is cultivating a new crop of panmen and women with the start of its 2012 Learners’ Program.
About 25 learners, of various age groups, are being taught the rudiments of pan musicianship three times each week.
The program, which still has openings for aspiring pannists, is held Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
Many of the graduates of the program are expected to participate in the junior panorama competition of Spicemas 2013.
Angel Harps has won the last two junior panoramas of 2012 and 2011.