UPTOWN Fascinators are on a mission to retain the Panorama small conventional bands crown.
The Tobago-based band is one step closer to achieving that goal after an enthralling performance in the national semifinals at Victoria Square, Port of Spain on Saturday.
Playing Colin Lucas’ Dollar Wine, arranged by Ojay Richards, Uptown Fascinators thrilled spectators – and the judges – to storm into the national finals, with an unassailable 277 points. They edged out the TT Defence Force which placed second and New East Side, another Tobago band, coming third.
Six Tobago bands are among the 16 to reach the final, scheduled for Saturday at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain.
Richards, 31, told Newsday on Sunday that the pan side is hungry for success after a bitter-sweet victory in 2020.
Playing Winston Soso’s I Don’t Mind in 2020, Uptown Fascinators blew away the judges with a confident, crisp and brilliant performance. But soon after their success, the covid19 pandemic hit and shut down TT and other parts of the world.
All plans for the Panorama champions were shelved, and there were no competitions in 2021 and 2022.
Richards said, “We were kinda robbed of true enjoyment and celebration of champs because of covid restrictions. It was a short-lived celebration.”
For 2023 the goal is simple, Richards said, “We trying to regain the status of champions to enjoy the fruits of that labour.”
He also discussed their semifinal showing. “We did a good performance, we executed the music well. We did what we needed to do. For finals we plan to come harder.”
Asked what is the plan before Saturday’s grand final, Richards declined to give details but said “we will clean up, tighten up, prepare and do what we need to do.”
He said the band is already at a disadvantage compared to its Trinidadian counterparts.
“We are robbed of practice time. Pans are already on racks and have to go back up (to Tobago). On Thursday pans have to head back (to Trinidad) again. It is tight for us in terms of time frame, but we are prepared.”
Asked about the key to the success of the Tobago bands, Richards added, “We are hungry for it. We sacrificing time. We want to win and to help each other out as well – it’s a small island. Players from different bands within Tobago (play with each other). When we go down (to Trinidad) we go down as one, but when competition starts it’s a different story.
1. Uptown Fascinators, 277 pts
2. Defence Force, 275 pts
3. New East Side, 274 pts
4. Fascinators, 272 pts
5. C & B Crown Cordians, 266 pts
5. Arima Golden Symphony, 266 pts
7. Roadblock, 265 pts
8. Highlanders, 262 pts
9. Genesis, 260 pts
9. Southern Stars, 260 pts
11. Tobago Panthers, 259 pts
12. Panasonic, 255 pts
12. West Side Symphony, 255 pts
14. Fusion Steel, 253 pts
15. Alpha Pan Pioneers, 252 pts
15. St Margarets, 252 pts
17. Perfect Cadence, 250 pts
18. Motown, 248 pts
18. La Horquetta, 248 pts
20. Our Boys, 247 pts
21. Lamentable Serenaders, 247 pts
22. Northulous, 246 pts
23. Kalomo Kings, 244 pts
23. Simple Song, 244 pts
25. West Stars, 241 pts
26. Musical Gems, 240 pts
26. Sound of Music, 240 pts
28. Old Tech, 233 pts
29. Casablanca, 231 pts
30. Tokyo with 229 points.
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