Belmont Fifth Dimension Steel Orchestra
Since the early 1960s, residents of Belmont have been gathering to engage in sporting activities, fostering a spirit of camaraderie within the community. The steelband, Belmont Fifth Dimension Steel Orchestra, would be born out of such activities, created when members of the sport group informally started a musical band.
Officially founded in 1972, the band exploded onto the Carnival scene and has maintained a presence at countless Panaroma competitions, with a competition repertoire inclusive of versions of popular songs from Calypso Greats, like Shadow, Stalin, Denise Plummer, and the Mighty Sparrow. The band is made up of a diverse group of players from all age groups, each member bringing a new spark to the orchestra. Various spectacular men of music have arranged for and captained this musical entity, helping this band leave its mark.
The founding executive members consisted of Lionel Douglas (President), Arthur King (Vice President), Neville Hewitt (Secretary), Allan St. Rose (Treasurer) and Carl Robinson (P.R. Officer), and the band was captained by Carlton Botheyn. By 1974, Fifth Dimension was already a fixture in Panorama and the J’ouvert competitions, winning the latter contest with their version of Shadow’s Bassman. That same year, Fifth Dimension members would have the honour of travelling to play in Venezuela under the captaincy of Fitzroy Cambridge.
The 1980s saw a lot of transition for the Orchestra, with the band battling numerous technical problems and the issue of members leaving for other bands in the area. By the 1990s, however, with the aid of skilled arranger Brian “Bean” Griffith, new successes would be upon the horizon.
Fifth Dimension would make itself known as a champion band again by winning the small band category in 1992 and placing 3rd overall in 1994 in the Panorama Competition, while also making a splash at Pan Ramajay. In 1996, more challenges arose including the demolition of the official panyard. Through protest and perseverance the band would rally, regaining their panyard space and winning Panorama that year with Defosto’s Pan in a Rage. They would continue giving an excellent musical account of themselves, placing consistently in the top-ranks of competition throughout the 90s, with tunes arranged by the likes of Keith Salcedo, Noel Skair and even the legendary pan impresario Len “Boogsie” Sharp. By 2002, Fifth Dimension had matured to the point that they moved from the Small to Medium Bands Panorama category, showing the growth of both the players, and the Orchestra.
Belmont Fifth Dimension Steel Orchestra strives to continue a legacy of community excellence, doing its part to share great local music with the world and highlight the best of Belmont. They are more than a Steel Orchestra, endeavouring to be a body of positive reinforcement for those who play, and who listen. The Orchestra’s mission is a simple, but important one: to elevate the Steelpan music to its highest possible apex through united work.