|Hon. Winston Peters Speech at Launch of Panorama 2012|
Address by the Hon. Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism, Winston Peters at the launch of Panorama 2012
It was gives me great pleasure to welcome each of you to the launch of Panorama 2012. As the flagship of the steelband movement, Panorama lives on as a premier opportunity for pan men and women to exude their musical prowess on steel and contend for victory.
When Panorama began in the year 1963, none of its organizers ever dreamed that this competition would have developed into the vibrant and enormous tribute to the only musical instrument invented in the 20th century.
However, I believe that if we want to take the steel pan and the entire movement into the future, pan enthusiasts must seek out more efficient ways to manage the national instrument. Many leaders in the movement have already expressed that as popular as Panorama is today, a gap still exists between the current reality of the movement and its full potential.
There are many directions that we can consider taking to improve the status of the pan. One of the more viable routes would be to nurture the instrument as a means for human development in Trinidad & Tobago. From its birth, the steel pan possessed a dignified spirit of resilience and resistance. Over the years, it has become symbolic of the heart and soul of the people of this great country.
This spirit influenced the pioneers of the steel pan to fight a battle wrought with passion for the beautiful music it created. In the beginning, men were incarcerated, family units were torn apart, territorial battles were waged and political resistance was wrought for the steel pan in its evolution. And even when the then prohibition of the music was lifted, pan musicians confronted social stigma for their association with this acoustic musical instrument.
In retrospect, we see how the passion for the tantalizing notes of the pan raised its status over the years. Tonight, thousands of young men and women stand before me, proud to the hundreds of hours of rehearsal expended over the past several months in preparation for this exciting competition.
Ladies and gentlemen, in a similar fashion, if we got more people involved in playing the pan, is it not possible that they too can experience the benefit that a life in the arts can create? As such, we can solve many of our contemporary social ills by developing a renewed sense of purpose and passion in many of our young people. I say to you today that the pan can contribute to such development.
Self confidence is often linked to patriotism and as a result of such a combination, much creativity can abound. Therefore, promoting our national musical instrument as a symbol of who we are is yet another significant way by which we can encourage human development.
This concept includes caring and having respect for the instrument. There are far too many instances where this care does not exist. For example, we do not always consider the proper storage and handling of pans during transport. There have even been extreme cases where instruments are stacked upon the side of the roads, exposed to the elements of the weather and suffering from our neglect.
Ladies and gentlemen, this has to change. These issues exist because in some respects, we don’t cherish or realize the full beauty of what we have.
On these contemporary times, the pan movement resides in a comfort zone. We’ve gotten praise, status and acquired the right to assemble in groups like this and enjoy the music. Therefore, a great deal of that original passion with which we fought for the recognition of this musical instrument has waned.
Tonight as we launch and celebrate Panorama, I urge you to be creative, to take the pan to the next level and beyond. Some ideas have already been heard. But, there are those that have never been expressed. The latter still resides in the imaginations of our passionate people who keep the movement of our national musical instrument alive.
May I remind you that a spirit never dies. I encourage each of you tonight to allow that spirit which created this instrument to inspire you as it influenced the players of old.
As Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism, I express the Ministry’s continued support for the pan. We will continue to strengthen the cultural sector that not only pan enthusiasts would benefit but also other artists and cultural workers.
Nevertheless, let us enjoy this labor of love we call Panorama. I thank all of the players, composers, tuners, pan builders, and arrangers that continue to support this festival with enthusiasm. Please keep the passion alive for the generations to come.
I now take pleasure in officially launching Panorama 2012.