“I believe the children are our future”, the opening line of Whitney Houston’s hit song ‘Greatest love of all’, continues to resonate with many people and organisations today. PanoGrama Entertainment (PE) is one such organization. PE continued to uplift youth most recently, through presenting the Nevin Roach award for excellence in steelpan, at the 2023 Bishop’s High School, Tobago graduation ceremony. Tobagonian Giana Eastman was the recipient of the award last week Thursday.
The 15-year-old, who resides in Sou Sou Lands, Tobago, indicated that she was happy to be recognised.
“I was truly pleased and inundated with ecstasy upon being the recipient of the award for excellence on steelpan. This occasion is indeed disparate to others as most times I play the steelpan for entertainment purposes but here I was recognized as being outstanding on the instrument.”
The award is named after the CEO and Founder of PanoGrama and was established in 2022. It aims to recognise youth who are excelling on the instrument in school and reward them for their hard work and dedication. Each recipient receives a plaque bearing their name and a one-off financial grant to aid with the next steps in their journey. Farai Dave received the award in 2022.
“It’s important to give back and reward excellence”, Roach said when asked about the award. “We wanted to start this with Bishop’s because it’s the school where my foundation was laid but we hope to do something similar at other schools as PanoGrama grows. The steelpan is a powerful tool that can be used to produce better citizens and so, every child that is motivated to stick with pan is a positive step. This is my little contribution.”
Eastman encountered the steelpan at age 6 when her neighbour was discarding a tenor pan. She had no idea how to play it but took it home as she was filled with desire. As time passed, her competence developed through participating in notable national programmes such as Pan in School at the Black Rock Government Primary School and Pan Minors. In the 2018 Music Festival U12 category, she was triumphant with Jeannine Remy’s ‘My dog has fleas’, before becoming an integral part of the steelpan setup at Bishop’s High School.
Pan Trinbago’s Education Officer, Marcus Ash, lauded Roach upon learning about the development.
“Initiatives such as these are not just a token of encouragement for the student, but also to the school that they all continue the excellent work which they are doing.
In keeping with Pan Trinbago's vision of Prosperity in Pan, I applaud any initiative that allows a child to have easier access to what the world of steelpan has to offer. On that note, I say congratulations to Nevin Roach, the Bishop’s High School Tobago, and the recipient.”
Eastman intends to continue honing her skills on the steelpan and would like to become an adjudicator for steelpan competitions, music festivals and talent shows in the future.