Steelband 1970 - 1979
This decade brought significant physical changes:
In 1971, the steelbands convened to form a new governing body, Pan Trinbago, to replace the National Association of Trinidad & Tobago Steelbandmen which was founded in 1950. In 1972, the first scientific study of the characteristics of pan was initiated at the University of the West Indies (UWI) at St. Augustine, Trinidad, by Ron Dennis, a lecturer in the Engineering Department. Dennis, who was from England, analyzed the behavior of pan notes in the laboratory and theorized that pans could be pressed (made concave) by the hydroform method. Initially, a small die was manufactured and tested on mini-pans, with research help from engineering student Clement Imbert. With funding from the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (Cariri), construction of a larger press designed by Ron Dennis began at the UWI Engineering Department in 1974. Upon his graduation from UWI, Clement Imbert joined the Cariri project team which included Richard McDavid as the Project Manager. The press was completed in 1975 and, after testing, was put into operation with the help of Caroni Limited who made their machine shop available for the project. Pans were pressed from 1975 to 1976 and were tuned by Bertie Marshall and Anthony Williams who reported their findings to the project team. The biggest problem observed by the tuners was the material distribution, i.e., the lack of a gradual reduction in thickness from the circumference to the center of the pressed surface. Improvements were made and, with the support of arranger Ray Holman, the first complete set of pans were used in the 1976 Panorama competition. Pressing ceased in mid-1977 when funding from the Government of Trinidad & Tobago was halted.
However, the most significant change of the decade was brought about by Ray Holman in the 1972 Panorama competition when he composed and arranged "Pan on the Move" for Starlift and took 3rd Place. This accomplishment would change Panorama forever. He returned in the 1976 Panorama with the Pandemonium Steelband and took 3rd Place with his composition "We Kind of Music." In 1977, he again took 3rd Place with Pandemonium with his composition "Panyard Vibration." Holman's Panorama daring paved the way for others to follow and, in 1978, Lennox Sharpe wrote and arranged "Carnival is Bacchanal" for the Phase II Pan Groove Steelband who took 3rd Place. For their contribution to the development of the steelband, Oscar Pyle and Winston "Spree" Simon were awarded the Trinidad & Tobago Public Service Medal of Merit Gold in 1974.
The decade ended with steelbands boycotting the Panorama competition in 1979 in protest over insufficient prize money. The boycott created an opportunity for recorded music to replace steelband music on the road during Carnival. Disc jockeys (DJs) took full advantage of the opening and the steelband lost its prominence on the road during Carnival. Thus, began the era of DJ music.
In spite of the growing threat of compositions from panmen, Lord Kitchener's calypsoes remained very popular with arrangers and was the choice of eight Panorama winners during this decade. Desperadoes was the most consistent band during this decade winning Panorama three times. Other steelbands that won more than once were Harmonites and Starlift.