Pandemonium Steel Orchestra
Pandemonium Steel Orchestra was founded in 1974, and has been blazing a trail since on both local and international circuits, encouraging the growth and visibility of the National Instrument. They have toured, collaborated with various artistes and arrangers, and competed in numerous contests. For many years, this orchestra was captained by Jerry Sheppard, and then Barry Nanton, until 1992. Pandemonium was regarded as one of the top, large steelbands in the country and would often appear as a regular competitor in the National Panorama Finals, eventually placing 2nd in the 1988 competition with a Clive Bradley arrangement of Mighty Trini’s Sailing.
Pandemonium has faced its own share of challenges, losing its sponsor, Fertrin, and being evicted from its home panyard at Jerningham Avenue, in 1992. Operating from their new site on Norfolk Street, Belmont, the orchestra made a return to the local music scene, at the 2005 Republic Pan Fiesta Competition. The band, however, would face further challenges in 2014, when a lack of players and insufficient funds almost prevented them from competing in the Panorama competition.
The Belmont community rallied around the band and young players from Providence Girls’ Catholic School and Queen’s Royal College, represented the band, under the guidance of talented arranger, Akua Leith. The band placed 6th, playing a rousing version of Edwin “Crazy” Ayoung’s Pan in Yuh Pwefen.
Outside of its competition performances, the band maintains strong ties with the Belmont community. In July 2012, pan impresarios Kwesi Paul and Akua Leith conducted evening sessions for adults at the panyard, teaching pan-playing, music literacy and music theory.
Pandemonium seeks to build on their successes in the future and while sharing their love of the national instrument and entertaining many diverse audiences. Now captained by Mr. Roger Williams, Pandemonium continues to grow and give back to the community that has birthed and embraced them; hitting even higher notes despite various challenges, forging great music from classical to contemporary Soca and Latin music hits.