Classorama is a steelpan competition for schools and is held every
year at the beginning of July.
The idea for Classorama came about in 2007 during a talent show which was held at Sir John Cass's Foundation & Red Coat Church of England Secondary School, London. The steelpan teacher at the school, Kyron Akal, decided to set up a steelpan concert to give all pupils who played steelpans the opportunity to showcase their talents to their teachers, parents and peers. Classorama had the hallmarks of Trinidad’s Steelpan Festival being a standalone steelpan event that evolved from an existing music event where any genre of music could be performed.
The success of the Classorama spread throughout the local community. Over the following years there were many requests for it to be developed into an open event for any school steelband that wanted to participate. This led to the Steel Pan Trust taking over the running of Classorama and immediately set about expanding its remit. The format was changed from being a local festival to a national competition with its purpose being ‘to recognise the many excellent school steelbands in the UK that go unnoticed for the wonderful works and achievement’.
In 2013, Manorfield Primary School formed a steelband with the sole intention of competing in the new Classorama.
In 2014, the first Steel Pan Trust Classorama featured 12 schools from across the London area competing in one of two categories; primary and secondary school steelbands. It was a great success for both the children and the organisers, and created a platform to encourage more schools to register for the following year.
- The competition is held indoors similar to the Steelband Music Festival.
- The steelbands are typically ensembles as opposed to Panorama steel orchestras.
- The music performed can be from any genre as opposed to a calypso.
- More than one steelband per school can enter the competition.
- Classorama is not held in the days leading up to carnival.
- There are no regional heats.
However, Classorama does emulate Panorama in the actual performances from the steelbands.
- It exploits the musical and performance abilities of both the children and their teachers.
- The format of the pieces played follows that of the Panorama tunes.
- The traditional steelpan rivalry is enjoyed by all performers.
- It is a national competition held in the capital of the country.
- It is becoming more popular year on year.
Classorama is not soley about the competition; like in the early UK steelpan festivals, semi-professional or professional pannists filled the day with impromptu performances or speeches about steelpan and there was time set aside for the young pannists to get to know each other.
Competing in Classorama gives the children an insight into what it would be like to compete in Junior Panorama. Since many of their teachers play in steelbands that compete in the UK Panorama competition it is hoped that their involvement will inspire the children to compete at the highest national level.
Classorama is also a stablemate of Pan Clash, a steelpan soloist competition held annually in October.
- 1976 Manchester’s first Schools Steelband Festival
- 1981 London's first Steelband Music Festival
- 1982 Coventry’s first Schools Steelband Festival
- 2005 Kirkless' first Steelband Festival
- 2007 North Tyneside’s first Festival of Steelbands
- 2007 London’s first Classorama Steelband Festival
- 2007 Leicestershire's first Schools Pan Jam
- 2009 Birmingham’s first Steelband Festival
- 2012 Scotland’s first Schools steelband Fesitival
- 2014 Berkshire’s first Schools Steelband Festival