Friday 7th March, 2008


Golden Hands charms Canadian judge into buying pan

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Under the direction of FRANKA HILLS HEADLEY, Golden Hands Steel Orchestra performed and won the Da Silva Cup.


TWO weeks of classic pan performances from southern-based Golden Hands Steel Orchestra has convinced Canadian music adjudicator Mary Legge to purchase a steelpan—the national musical instrument of T&T—before she departs our shores.

Legge was based in Tobago and then Naparima Bowl in San Fernando, for three weeks of preliminary music action in the 28th Biennial T&T Music Festival.

Her Canadian colleague Melvin James Hurst took command of activities at Queen’s Hall in St Ann’s, Port-of-Spain.

It was during her 14-day posting in San Fernando that she heard and fell in love with young musicians that constitute Golden Hands.

When the steel orchestra took centre-stage at Queen’s Hall, at Saturday’s open championships and delivered its tasteful interpretation of the it tune-of-choice titled The Renewal Suite No 8 from the Rainmaker, composed by Dr Jeanine Remy, Hurst got a single taste of music pleasures which Legge had been enjoying for weeks.

Under the direction of conductor Franka Hills-Headley Golden Hands wowed patrons at the venue with its magical touch on steel and won the hearts of all gathered to earn the Da Silva Cup.

“This is the group that has convinced me to buy a pan,” said Legge to the delight of the audience.

“Their playing is atmospheric, suspenseful and full of contrast.”

Golden Hands’ performance was one of many musical highlights that filled Queen’s Hall at the weekend.

Its long-standing member and certified musician Vanessa Alexandria Headley emerged as the top steelpan soloist to take home the Signature Trophy, while the Key Academy Group One won the Rochford Cup.

The Lydian Singers created history when four of its soloists tied for first to win the Dr Dorrel Philip Trophy. Then a Lydian duet claimed the Subscriber’s Cup.

Los Amigos Cantadores and Amantes de Parranda held on to first place they shared coming out of the qualifying round of the festival.

They now share the Canadian Trade Commissioner’s Trophy, while Poly Alumni Choir caused an up when it beat the world famous Jeunes Agape and Tobago’s established New Dimension Chorale in the calypso chorale segment for the Joslynne Sealey Trophy 1.

It seemed gone are the days when Trinidad choir representatives registering for the calyspo chorale class in the Festival would recognise the name of a Tobago outfit on the list and cringe.

No longer are groups taking part in this segment of the contest expecting to place second believing that the cup or trophy was reserved for a group from the sister isle.

Poly Alumni demonstrated this on Saturday night with their controlled singing as well as light, but even movement.

Its repertoire comprised Lord Kitchener’s Pan In A Minor and Rizon’s Reach.

The features contained its performance did not miss the ears and eyes of the judges.

Legge said: “It was interesting to hear social commentary in this easy way...done with subtlety and symbolism, but as always we were looking for quality and sound.”

She added: “The better the quality, the better the sound and the words. We looked at the choice of repertoire and the age of the contestants and the overall presentation.”

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