Megan Smith - My Panorama Experience
In this feature Megan Smith writes about herself and her Panorama Experience ....
DOB: August 6th 1998
My name is Megan Smith and I was born and raised in New Providence, The Bahamas. Being raised in a musical family, music was all around me. At the age of nine, my father Komal Smith started me with drum lessons under the instruction of the late Mr. Leon Bowe and piano lessons with Mrs. Dorothy Bethel. I later went on to attend The Barak School of Music where I furthered my studies on the drums under the instruction of Mr. Howard Bethel. I also attended Gray’s Music Center where I was introduced to the violin and in 2018; I began saxophone lessons with Duke Errol Strachan. Additionally, I am a former member of The Bahamas National Children’s Choir while under the leadership of the late Dr. Patricia Bazard and the late Mrs. Audrey Dean- Wright.
At the age of 14, I was introduced to the steel pan by my father, and was taught by the late Mr. Jeff Hall. I began playing professionally at the age of 15 with my father’s band, The Smith Foundation Steel Pan Band. During my time with the band, we performed locally around the Bahamas at major hotels and private events and internationally, we performed at The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University in Minnesota, USA at the request of the University’s Archipelago Association and the Student Government Association.
When I started playing the steel pan, it was just another instrument to me but as I got deeper in my studies, the uniqueness of the instrument captured my attention. There are very few professional steel pan players in The Bahamas that I am aware of thus I knew this was the instrument that I would like to further pursue and promote.
When I became aware of Panorama, I made it my goal to one-day travel to Trinidad & Tobago to play in the major event. To my surprise, in August 2018, I was blessed with the opportunity to pursue my Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Business at The University of The West Indies, St. Augustine thus simultaneously allowing me to pursue my education while accomplishing my goal of playing in panorama.
Upon my arrival in Trinidad, I immediately began searching for a band to play with and considering that Exodus was in close proximity to the UWI, I decided to play with them. In March 2019 at the age of 20, I became the first female Bahamian to play in Trinidad and Tobago’s Panorama Steel Pan Band Competition with Republic Bank Exodus Steel Pan Orchestra. Being surrounded by the melodious sounds of the steel pan every evening and being able to network with other players and learn more about the pan from the masters themselves increased my appreciation for the instrument. Panorama was an entirely new experience for me coming from The Bahamas where the pan is not as prominent as it is in other Caribbean countries. Panorama was my first time ever playing for an audience and event of that magnitude and although the process was tedious, by the grace of God, I was able to persevere and make history.
Having accomplished my biggest goal, which was to play in Trinidad & Tobago’s Panorama, I aim to continue to promote the steel pan around The Bahamas. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, thus, I give all credit to God for blessing me with this talent and for giving my father the vision to introduce the art of music to his children. I also give credit to my mother, Maria Smith, for her dedication and commitment to the band and our lives. Lastly, to all who supported and gave me the opportunity to showcase my talent.