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partnering for pan in mayaro trinidad and tobago newsday
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Partnering for pan in Mayaro – Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

THE Mayaro Cadenza Steel Orchestra has benefitted from the donation of several steelpan racks made possible by a collaboration between bp Trinidad and Tobago (bpTT), Hydro Tech Limited and the Youth Training and Employment Partnership Programme (YTEPP). After a successful 2023/24 campaign, including a return to Panorama competition, Cadenza received seven bass racks, one of which holds nine pans, with the others holding six each. Ryan Chaitram, communications and external affairs manager, bpTT, spoke of the initiative at the handover ceremony recently. “We have a long history of supporting arts and culture in Mayaro as well as at the national level. When Cadenza approached us for support to construct the racks, we saw this as an ideal opportunity to collaborate. We reached out to long-time partners Hydro Tech and YTEPP, and they came on board without hesitation. The success of the project shows that partnerships are the pathway to progress and community development.” The racks were designed and constructed by six graduates of YTEPP’s Certified Welders and Fabricating Programme (CWFP). Using bpTT-supplied materials, the YTEPP team used pioneering designs with safety features including the avoidance of any sharp edges and reinforced structural stability. Manager of the CWFP at YTEPP, Fabian Perez, said, “The graduates were challenged to be creative and innovative, while also gaining valuable experience and additional income. As a local band flying the Mayaro flag, Cadenza has received an asset that will enhance the band and propel them to even greater accomplishments. This initiative embodies the essence of collaboration because everyone involved was able to benefit. Special kudos to bpTT and Hydro Tech for using local talent to support local talent.” Perez said the programme’s graduates are from the south-east community and received their qualifications at the YTEPP training centre hosted at Hydro Tech’s compound in Galeota, Guayaguayare. Having established a long-standing collaboration, YTEPP and Hydro Tech signed a memorandum of understanding in 2022 for a three-year programme that offers training in welding, fabricating and sandblasting. Also speaking about the collaborative effort to build the steelpan racks was Tricia Lynch, managing director of Hydro Tech Limited. “We acknowledge the essential role of arts and culture in nurturing community cohesion and our unique national identity. The collaboration with bpTT and YTEPP showcases our shared commitment to enriching the lives of people and propagating the growth of communities. Through partnerships like these, we are fostering creativity, celebrating diversity and cultivating a sense of pride.” Lynch noted that as a totally local organisation itself, Hydro Tech prioritises the development of local trainees through the YTEPP facilitated programme. She explained that trainees are not only provided with technical training, but they also receive soft skills such as civic responsibility that create well-rounded citizens. “This project exemplifies the fact that the trainees have a deep sense of national pride and are committed to building their communities even as they foster productive careers.” On hand to receive the racks was Cadenza’s founder and manager Charles ‘Charlo’ Hills, accompanied by the band’s secretary and captain. The band is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and commemorated this benchmark by competing in the 2024 Panorama National Small Band semi-finals as well as the Ken ‘Professor’ Philmore South-Central Pan Champs. According to Hills, “We are thankful to benefit from this pioneering partnership between bpTT, Hydro Tech and YTEPP. These racks are top-of-the-line and will go a long way towards helping the band, especially in terms of mobility and expansion. Previously, we had to rent and borrow racks, so now we are much more self-sufficient. We’ve had a successful year and with this gesture, we are encouraged to pursue our dreams and achieve our full potential; all to the glory of Mayaro and our national instrument.”

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