Written by: Jaydene Thomas
Born 3 years ago during the heights of the COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns, the history-making PanoGrama has and continues to captivate the international steelpan community.
Under the stewardship of Tobagonian Nevin Roach, the competition has seen 3 editions since its inception. However, those pannists eager to seize their opportunity to participate this year will have to wait, according to Roach.
“My team and I have done a great job with the platform to date. We have not only seen tremendous growth with the competition but also with many of the young participants who we try to impact in a positive way. I think now is the right time to step back for a bit to re-imagine the competition for the benefit of the participants and other major stakeholders”, Roach said.
When pressed about plans, Roach indicated that PanoGrama will shift from its regular virtual operations to a hybrid model.
“We are looking to host participants in one country for part of the competition, where, in addition to the performances, we can add cultural exchange, community outreach, and other components and activities which we think would help to produce well-rounded pannists. The ‘Knowledge for Success’ development series will be restructured and expanded to include digital marketing among other topics.”
Last year, PanoGrama partnered with the International Development Bank to influence youths at the 2022 Cheer Fair, while CEO Roach also worked along with the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture – Bahamas as part of a cultural exchange and steelpan development programme.
Nothern Illinois University Professor of Music, Liam Teague, who is also an adjudicator and development officer for PanoGrama, shared that he is in full support of the new direction and is looking forward to working with new talents.
“A day does not go by where I am not aware of how fortunate I am to live a life which encompasses performing, composing, arranging, teaching, and adjudicating. Nevin Roach and his PanoGrama team are passionate about the holistic development of all the competition’s participants and their general well-being; this resonates deeply with me, and I am proud to be able to serve PanoGrama’s stakeholders."
It is expected that the competition will resume in 2025. The 2022 title was captured by Mathieu Borgne of France, while Trinidad and Tobago’s Hanif Goodridge and Shaquille ‘Flogo’ Forbes finished in 2nd and 3rd respectively.