Pan band celebrates 15th anniversary, renews call for sponsor

The Panache Steel Orchestra began in 2007 with a group of nine musicians and today has more than 80 (Facebook photo)
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By Carlena Knight

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While celebrating 15 years in the business, the Panache Steel Orchestra is hoping to find a permanent sponsor.

Captain of the band Maurisha Potter was speaking on the Observer AM show on Monday about the orchestra’s month of activities when she made the call.

“We would have tried to reach out to different businesses and even though they have not given us full sponsorship, we are still happy that they gave us an opportunity to speak with them,” she said.

“I know it has been a bit of a struggle for some businesses, especially now since Covid-19 a lot of businesses took a fall, so it is still challenging.

“I don’t think persons understand how costly it is to put everything in place for a steel orchestra. We are still struggling but we are still pushing and still fighting. We are not going to make anything deter us,” she added.

Potter did however thank those businesses who have assisted in some capacity in the past.

She went on to say that if a Panorama competition – a hallmark of the annual Carnival celebrations – takes place this year, the band will need major sponsorship in order to prepare and participate on the night.

“We are still searching, we are still seeking sponsorship, we are still trying to market ourselves but hopefully one day, someone will reach out and sponsor us,” Potter added.

The Panache Steel Orchestra began on March 4 2007 with a group of nine musicians and today has more than 80.

Since then, the band has placed in the top two for three consecutive years in various events, and in 2018 created history with Zahra Lake as the first female to arrange for an orchestra that copped the top spot in the Antigua Commercial Bank’s 2018 Panorama competition.

She led Panache to a first-place tie with Hells Gate with her arrangement of Good Time by Tian Winter.

The orchestra has also toured in several Caribbean countries to include Barbados and St Maarten.

Honorary founder Robin Margetson also took some time to reminisce on the band’s humble beginnings.

“I remember our first competition in 2008, in the Gemonites Moods of Pan. And to get instruments for that we had to borrow some from different bands just to make a 25-a-side showing there, but I think that’s one of the things that we have learnt from.

“We established Panache based on the meaning ‘flair, flamboyant’ and we wanted it to be the standards in which we operate…we now have a band of over 86 persons and it is just a testament of the growth of the band,” Margetson said.

Through the many ups and downs, the group is still seeking a full sponsor in the hopes of growing the orchestra further.

Potter also addressed the 2022 break-in at the group’s Sir Sydney Walling Highway pan house.

 She explained that they have had some help from persons in the neighbourhood to clear some overgrown bushes but have had to repurchase some items.

She said there are still some upgrades needed, like adding lights around the area to help prevent another burglary.

The band began their month of celebrations with a church service at the St Peter’s Anglican Church this week. They will also host a hike and beach fun day with the executive members only, a mini-sports day and a public pan yard jam at the end of the month. A small fee will be charged for those aged over 12.

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