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Halcyon steel band marks 50th anniversary with social media pan contest

Pan enthusiasts have a lot to look forward to with the unveiling of Halcyon Steel Orchestra’s “Keeping the vibes alive social media pan competition” to commemorate its 50th year of existence. 

March 27 is the official start date of the competition and all pan enthusiasts are asked to take part by listening to all entries and liking and sharing accordingly, a release said. 

Born out of the bowels of the Gray’s Green Community, the Halcyon Steel Orchestra (HSO) has steadily become a force to be reckoned with in the annual Panorama championships held during the Carnival season. 

With 13 titles under their belt and being the only steel band movement on island to ever “four-peat” in the Panorama competition, the band found it fit to kickstart their golden celebration by giving pan players locally and in the diaspora an opportunity to re-arrange and present, via social media, one of their 13 winning Panorama renditions. 

To enter, single or five-member ensembles must record and upload a video rendition performing one of the winning pieces, upload and tag the Halcyon Steel Orchestra’s official Facebook page with the hashtag #Halcyon50. 

Five finalists will be selected via the most likes and comments to enter the second round on April 20. They will then be allowed to re-submit entries for round two on April 24. The finalists will be judged by a live panel as well as by social media likes, and the overall winners will be announced on May 5.

A grand prize of EC$2,000 will be awarded to the winner in the groups category while EC$1,000 will be awarded to the winner of the soloist category. 

Former prime minister and former MP for St John’s Rural West Constituency, Dr Winston Baldwin Spencer, who also forms part of the steel band’s management, expressed his delight with the organisation’s achievement of 50 years and has given his full backing to the launch of the competition. 

“I am personally pleased to extend the sincerest congratulations to the Halcyon Steel Orchestra, pride of the Gray’s Green Community, on the attainment of 50 years, advancing the musical art form of pan and for doing so in an exceptional and commendable fashion.

“I am equally pleased to have made a small contribution in ensuring its relevance and longevity as one of the institutions of value, worth and merit in the entire Gray’s Green Community from Joe Tony’s Corner to Five Islands and Antigua and Barbuda as a whole.

“May Halcyon continue to contribute to keeping the pan vibes alive and be a source of pride and unity in the Gray’s Green Community and beyond. Long live the indomitable Halcyon Steel Orchestra,” Dr Spencer added. 

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