St. George’s - It was an opportunity to celebrate when members and supporters of Republic Bank Angel Harps met last Saturday in Morne Rouge, St. George’s.
They celebrated their group’s success – two steelpan championships in 2011 – and the individual achievements of players such as 17-year-old Stacey Charles.
About three years ago, a schoolmate at the St. Joseph’s Convent in St. George’s invited Charles to join her at Angel Harps.
The Tanteen-based steel orchestra, founded in 1965, comprises junior and senior versions of the band. Many of its players are primary and secondary school students.
Each year, students record phenomenal successes in the primary schools’ Common Entrance Examination and in CXC for students at secondary level.
In 2011, for example, Charles placed third among students nationwide who sat the CXC. She passed with distinction in all her 11 subjects that included biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics.
“I never regretted joining the steelband,’’ Charles said Saturday at Angel Harps’ celebratory “Band Fete’’ at the Youth Development Centre.
According to Charles, participating in steelpan playing has assisted her to memorize better and to improve her socializing skills.
“Playing pan is fun and it helps you a lot,’’ said Charles, who is now in the natural science programme at T.A. Marryshow Community College. Her career goal is to become a medical doctor.
Charles, who credits her mother with being “very supportive’’ of her involvement in pan music, was a two-time winner this year. She played with the youngsters who won the 2011 Junior Panorama for Angel Harps; and she also was a performer when Harps captured the Senior Panorama competition at this year’s Spicemas.
In Saturday’s celebration of their victories, Angel Harpers were joined by parents of the young pannists; several former members of the band; Managing Director of Republic Bank, Keith Johnson; and MP for the Town of St. George, Tourism Minister Peter David.
A minute’s silence was observed for the late Carlyle Roberts, a former pannist, composer, arranger and executive member of Angel Harps.