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National Panorama 2017 named ACB – George ‘Nugget’ Joseph Panorama Competition
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National Panorama 2017 named ACB – George ‘Nugget’ Joseph Panorama Competition

by Nelson A. King 

from Caribbean Life

In recognition of the outstanding contribution to the development of the steelpan movement in Antigua and Barbuda, the Antigua & Barbuda Festivals Commission and the Antigua & Barbuda Pan Association have tagged The 2017 edition of the National Panorama Competition as the ACB – George “Nugget” Joseph Panorama Competition.

George ‘Nugget’ Joseph, currently 102 years old, is considered by many as the patriarch of the Antigua and Barbuda steel pan movement. ’Nugget’, as he is popularly known and referred to, is a pioneer of the steel pan movement of Antigua and Barbuda, a founding member of the Hells Gate Steel Orchestra and a treble pan player. He served as the secretary and treasurer of the Hells Gate Steel Band from its inception in 1945 until 1958. He was the band’s captain from 1948 to 1958. In addition to his functions as Captain and Secretary/Treasurer, he took on the responsibility of addressing all negative press that the pan movement faced during the early years. His discreet and effective responses via the Antigua Star and the Workers Voice newspapers brought about a change of attitude from the naysayers.

Minister with responsibility for Culture and Festivals, the Hon. E. P. Chet Greene says that “as we celebrate the 60th Anniversary of our Carnival, it is fitting that we honour a man who has been there from the inception and would have worked tirelessly to making pan a significant feature of our annual summer festival.  He deserves our highest commendations and will forever hold a special place in our history.”

George ‘Nugget’ Joseph was a staunch defender of his community ‘The Point’ and the instrument the steel pan. In one of his writings he wrote, “if the steel band had originated at the corners of Market and St. Mary’s Streets, – what then. He was of the view that for decades there existed both a stigma and a myth which have enveloped “The Point” and its people. The stigma is that you can get a boy out of “The Point” but you can’t get “The Point” out of the boy and the myth is that nothing good has ever come out of “The Point”. ‘Nugget’ in one of his responses, referred to one of the naysayers as, “an antagonistic termite to progress”.  ‘Nugget’s’ single handed literary battle with the early critics of the steel pan movement, resulted in respect gained, the acceptance of the art form and the involvement of people of all walks of life in the steel pan movement, today.

In 1949, ‘Nugget’ captained Hells Gate Steel Orchestra, when it won the first ever national steel band competition (panorama). In 1950, he was instrumental in organizing and preparing Hells Gate Steel Orchestra for its first church performance at the St. Peters Anglican Church in Parham Town. In May and August of 1950, he led Hells Gate on tours to St. Kitts. In 1951, ‘Nugget’ led Hells Steel Orchestra on a tour to Tortola (BVI), St. Thomas and St. Croix (USVI). In the early 1950’s, under the captaincy of ‘Nugget’, Hells Gate Steel Orchestra participated in a successful Easter Monday boycott of Moody Stuart’s annual horse racing event. It was organized by the Rt. Hon. Sir Vere Cornwall Bird Sr., then the Chief Minister of Antigua and Barbuda.

The Festivals Commission is working towards a most successful 2017 Panorama Competition and hails the outstanding contribution of Mr. George ‘Nugget’ Joseph to the development of the steel pan movement in Antigua and Barbuda and the continued corporate support the Antigua Commercial Bank.

The National Panorama competition will be held on Friday 4th August at 8 p.m. at Carnival City.

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