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Pan competition shows Cayman's talent

Residents witnessed another round of steel pan talent as students showcased their skills at a packed Mary Miller Memorial Hall on Wednesday evening.

Judges Angharad Parkes, Dawn Batson and Ken Figuero sit among hundreds of residents who supported the Amin Mohammed Memorial Steel Band Competition at Mary Miller Memorial Hall in Red Bay Wednesday evening. - Photo: Jewel Levy

Schools throughout Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac participated in the Amin Mohammed Memorial Steel Band competition, part of the National Children’s Festival of the Arts.

Nine bands competed in three categories – junior, junior high, and senior. There were also seven pan solos and two duets. A new addition to the competition was an open category in which a number of the bands participated.

Pan ‘n’ Riddim’s Abby Onfroy won the steel pan solo competition and was chosen as an entrant in the upcoming Young Musician of the Year contest.

Other winners were: Mark Plowright of John Gray High School, who took first place in the junior steel pan solo; Pan ‘n’ Riddim’s Natari Levy, who placed first in the open category; and Cayman Prep and High School’s Jaden Francis and Artemis Deslandes-Hydes, who were first in the steel pan duet category.

The steel band junior winner was Prospect Primary School. Cayman Prep and High School’s Panjammers won both the junior high and senior high categories. UCCI’s Pandemix won the senior category, and Cayman School for Pan won the open category.

The Amin Mohammed Memorial Steel Pan Competition is named after a former senior vice president of Cayman National Bank, which sponsored the event.

Avolyn Howell, a Cayman National Bank representative, said that during Mr. Mohammed’s tenure with the bank, he shared his love of steel pan music and through this many at Cayman National Bank had learned to appreciate the beauty of steel pan.

Welsh cellist Angharad Parkes, music director and conductor Dawn Batson, and steel pan enthusiast Ken Figuero were the judges.

Acting Chief Education Officer Lyneth Monteith said the competition continues to showcase the tremendous musical talent in the schools and it was an exciting night for all attending.

In her remarks, she called for a moment of silence in the memory of Perry George, dean of administration at the University College of the Cayman Islands, who passed away this week.

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