This partnership has borne fruit that has benefited and will continue to do so for many school-aged children, particularly at the secondary level, who are actively involved in steel pan concerts and competitions, like the annual Pan-O-Rama.
On Saturday evening, the Ministry launched a magazine titled “Portrait in Pan”; a publication that captures the life of pan music in Guyana, its present and future endeavours.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Department of Culture, Youth and Sport, Mr. Alfred King, in his remarks recalled President David Granger’s vision for steel pan during the Jubilee celebrations, especially the introduction of regional steel bands.
PS King highlighted that GuyOil responded to the call and now there is a steel band programme in Bartica sponsored by the company. The PS added that similar partnerships are welcomed.
Mr. King emphasized that over the years, Republic Bank Guyana has played a significant role in the development of steel pan music. This is evident is in Pan-O-Rama competition and the Pan Minors programme.
With regard to the magazine, the PS explained that it is a valuable venture since it captures pertinent information that can be used by music students.
In his remarks, the Administrator of the National School of Music, Mr. Andrew Tyndall, noted that over the next five years the goal is to install 20 steel bands in schools. A few of the bands have already been bought and will be delivered to the respective schools before the end of the year.
He added that attention will also be in encouraging and promoting community steel bands. All of these initiatives will, together, boost the appreciation of and participation in the art form.
In recognition of the support given to Steel Pan music, the Ministry, in collaboration with the Guyana Musical Arts Festival Committee, presented tokens of appreciation to a number of persons and organizations who have demonstrated their commitment and dedication to the sustainability of steel pan. These include Roy Geddes, Calvin Whyte, Rudy Bishop, Frank Lynch, Republic Bank (Guyana)Ltd., Desiree Wyles-Ogle, Compton Narine (aka Ras Camo Williams), Ivan Chapman, Colgrain Whyte and Andrew Tyndall.
Aside from the launch of the magazine and award ceremony, the gathering of music supporters was treated to a steel pan competition which saw the participants performing classical pieces. The first, second and third place winners were North Ruimveldt Secondary School (Pan Groove), the National Steel Orchestra and GBTI/Buxton Steel Orchestra respectively. The Best Conductor spot was awarded to Ray Sparman followed by Colgrain Whyte.