Written by: Dana Malcolm
PanoGrama 2021 is going full speed ahead both onscreen and behind the scenes. Auditions were wrapped up recently and while the wait for the preliminaries is on, the PanoGrama Entertainment team cooked up something special for participants and the public alike.
The Knowledge for Success series was an initiative born out of the team’s mandate to contribute to the holistic personal, musical and professional development of pannists. The series, which concluded on Tuesday, April 6, was a resounding success.
It began on March 27th with a Career Guidance session hosted by Professor Liam Teague. Head of steelpan studies at Northern Illinois University, Teague has played with over fifteen different international ensembles and served as a judge at some of the most prestigious steelpan competitions worldwide.
Teague stressed the importance ‘versatility’ and ‘substance’ when it came to making a career from steelpan. The session was attended by the public and participants of the competition and was well received by all with participants scrambling to get questions answered and get as much advice as they could. Participants said they were ‘appreciative of the advice’.
This was followed by a Personal Development session hosted by Steffon Campbell. It was only fitting that Campbell who works as an assistant lecturer at CARIMAC, a freelance journalist, communications consultant, podcaster and is a published author headed the Personal Development session. This session was also open to the public and participants. Campbell stressed that musicians should invest in themselves. At the end of the session participants expressed satisfaction and gratitude for the ‘special tricks’ that he had shared.
Bringing the curtains down on the webinar series, was a session on Musical Development hosted by steelpan veteran Natasha Joseph. Joseph is an experienced pannist with a career spanning more than 3 decades and has led several orchestras in the National Panorama as drillmaster. She brought a wealth of experience to the session, which was geared specifically towards the PanoGrama participants. The participants dissected the criteria with Joseph and learned various musical techniques that could be applied to deliver their best performances for the competition.
Douglas ‘Dougie’ Dallaway who would be representing England in the upcoming PanoGrama, gave his views on the webinar series, stating that “these things are arguably more important than the competitions. There is no point in competing if you aren’t learning. It is very good to be learning things from the likes of very experienced people.” He continued, “it is a great initiative to keep going. It helps with development and the sharpening of skills so that people can not only do competitions but they can also go out into the world and represent on a higher level.” He thanked PanoGrama Entertainment for the initiative.
Participants as well as members of the public who attended the series were collectively grateful for the opportunity to learn from such celebrated veterans, free of cost and as the series came to a close it was hailed as a resounding success on all fronts.