Week 2, Page 1

January 11 - 17, 2004

Panyard day and night

Well, the first week is history now, and I'm all settled in and know the neighborhood a little better. I know where to go to jog, where I can watch or play some football (soccer), get groceries, cash, and good roti or bake and shark.

A little taste of week 2, which was spent mostly in the panyard...

1) Rehearsal time at the Exodus panyard. The cello and guitar pan players are rehearsing a section, accompanied by the engine room (far left, and behind several players). There are currently 140 players in the band, to be no more than 120 at Panorama time. Rehearsals start around 7:30 and can last until after midnight.

2) A long row of basses (the back line). Two sets of nine bass in the foreground are unmanned at the moment. Note that each rack rests on wheels.

3) The tenor (lead) pan section leader, on the right, teaches the next phrase to a few players, who then scatter about the section and teach everyone else. Some players interested in getting a head start listen in with interest.

4) Daytime at the panyard is busy as well. Below is Austin Wallace, in charge of keeping the hundreds of instruments in tune. Austin was a founder of the band; in Exodus's first year, all of the instruments played in the group had been made by him alone.

5) Here, a carpenter builds new cases for instruments as the tuner works in the background. I watched the carpenter rip several long pieces of narrow wood with that hand saw cleaner and more accurately than I can with my table saw. He does have some power tools with him, but chooses a hand saw for this work. Just in front of him is one of several new racks that were welded together a couple of days ago.

6) This view is from within the storage cage of the panyard looking out at the seating gallery. Work in the daytime includes basic groundskeeping. This lawn and the tiered area up near the street host more and more people each night as the competition draws near. By month's end, I'm told, a huge crowd will be gathered here each night to hear the group rehearse (and, presumably, to "lime"). The white (red-striped) minivan on the street is a maxi taxi, the most common mode of transport here. The second floor of the building across the street is an apartment, and every night the lady comes out and sits on her patio for awhile to check in on our progress. Numerous residences are quite nearby the panyard. The volume of a 120-piece steel orchestra rehearsing well into the night is just a part of life here.

7) Exodus is an award winning band. The trophy case contains a smattering of their silverware. Prize banners also line the walls of the cage.