Expired: UCCI students take Toronto pan festival by storm

CI – Earl La Pierre’s musical odyssey continues to expand his legacy in Cayman, Canada and beyond.

La Pierre brought his UCCI Pandemix band to Toronto for the 10th consecutive year earlier this summer, and they placed first in the Non-Calypso category of the Pan Alive competition. UCCI Pandemix played in conjunction with Afropan, La Pierre’s band that he formed in Toronto decades ago.

The competition took place on 2 Aug., and the group of 16 students and five former UCCI students spent two weeks in Toronto working on their music and soaking up the atmosphere.

“I’m really proud of the group. What I can say about that is, steel pan is in good hands in the Cayman Islands,” said La Pierre. “All the kids that went with me, they really did put on a good show.”

UCCI Pandemix and Afropan performed ‘Phantom of the Opera’ to win the Non-Calypso category, and their performance of ‘Savannah Grass’ earned a second place in the Calypso grouping.

Eight other bands were competing with UCCI Pandemix and Afropan for top honours.
“It was about half and half,” said La Pierre of the students who had made the trip before. “Half were seniors who had gone before, and half were juniors who were going for the first time.

“And it’s going to get bigger next year. Some of the other kids in other schools want to go too.”

La Pierre said that some of the bands competing in the competition had as many as 80 members. The UCCI Pandemix and Afropan combined band was more like 66 people, he said. UCCI Pandemix and Afropan also played a for the general public during Toronto’s Caribana parade on 3 Aug.

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