They started in early April, blowing up social media with their videoed rendition of Heal the World during the initial stage of the pandemic’s global lockdown. Incorporating 15 of their male and female local and foreign seasoned pan players, respectively, BP Renegades Steel Orchestra would present to the world a soothing, first-rate reproduction of the 1992 release from the late Michael Jackson.
Leading by example, this effort inspired other steel orchestras and solo pan players in and out of T&T, to do same—serenade the world, stimulate essential workers, assist pan lovers at home break the couch-potato boredom and encourage them to get up and dance, sing, munch and sip on their favourite snack and drink; get something and wave; socialise through watch parties and ongoing exchange of comments during performances…enjoy the “new normal.”
A special year for Renegades in more ways than one, as apart from assisting with healing the world and advocate safe practices, they celebrate their 50-year partnership with their sponsor family, BPTT, where signing took place in June back then.
Lofty physical activities were planned, initiated on January 20 with a gala concert at Queen’s Hall, but it was at the band’s sponsor-night gathering at their panyard, on Charlotte Street, Port-of-Spain, on February 13, where the 50th was sealed with a Taijitu kiss, the Yin and Yang.
The Chinese religion and philosophy dictate that the Yin represents darkness, coldness and hardness, while the Yang is the white swirl representing positivity, warmth and softness among other things, but the two work together for the common good. The yin-yang comprises “sets of two opposing and complementing principles, and is a complex relational concept in Chinese culture,” advises Dr Jun Shan, PhD, and president of Csymbol.com and ArtChops, online guides to Chinese culture and characters.
On that evening, accordingly, presidents of BPTT and Renegades Claire Fitzpatrick and Colin Greaves, addressed the gathering, and presented the Yin and Yang.
As the force of the pandemic keeps the world on its head redirecting to stretch minds and alter plans, many related physical celebratory events have been squashed, but in keeping fans connected, of relevance, and affording the world opportunities to celebrate their golden anniversary with them, Renegades embarked upon a series of viral entertainment.
Inspired by their Heal the World video, was their six-series, primetime Wednesday’s Beat the PANdemic solo concerts, showcasing six Renegades stage-side players, which started on April 8 with performance by their musical director Duvone Stewart, and concluded on May 13 with the performance of their junior steel orchestra’s drill master Barry Mannette.
This gave rise to a heightened primetime blockbuster concert, Beat the PANdemic…The Alliance, on May 20, where the six players alternately combined their talent and scope of musical genre, offering the world an interwoven fabric of gospel; reggae; classic; vintage calypso, soca, disco; rock; ramajay; and sentimental, followed by an after party with DJ Avaron (Avaron Vanloo), on-air presenter and production assistant, of Calgary, Canada.
From May 1, their Beyond Horizon Relive the 70th Anniversary Concert Experience began, with a second and third held on May 8 and 22, featuring the senior and junior steel orchestras, respectively.
Continuing to fly the T&T pan flag at full mast entertaining and engaging the world in this virtual experience, a new slate of Wednesday blockbuster feature performances is in store from May 27.All concerts, 8 pm, free thus far.