Technology is the foundation upon which the history-making PanoGrama was birthed in 2020 and it remains the vehicle that drives it forward today. PanoGrama has now taken it one step further by working with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Trinidad and Tobago to engage youth in the metaverse, at this year’s Cheer Fair.

The IDB hosted Cheer Fair 2022 in hybrid format with two weeks of online learning and fun at the IDB Virtual Campus on the VR Park Virtual Reality platform, which runs from August 15-26. The target audience for this year’s Cheer Fair is children and young people under 18 years of age, along with their parents and general members of the public.

Steelpan in the Metaverse

“Cheer Fair is always about hosting fun and engaging activities for the whole family,” said Carina Cockburn, the IDB’s Country Representative in Trinidad and Tobago. “As we emerge from the dark days of the pandemic, we are particularly glad to include the metaverse in our activities this year and focus on a part of the population that is already active in this space. Indeed, engagement with younger generations is critical as we move toward the digital future of Trinidad and Tobago.”

CEO and Founder of PanoGrama, Nevin Roach, indicated that it was an honour to be part of the IDB activities and lauded the initiative. The Tobagonian said

“Advancements in technology shape lives and we must keep updated to remain competitive as a people. The IDB has embarked on an important journey, and I am happy to be part of it. I envision a future T&T where there are virtual and augmented experiences that immerse visitors into the events leading to the creation of the steelpan, or the past operation of the Trinidad Government Railway, making them feel as if they were there in person.” With a smile, he concluded that “there is so much history and culture that can be packaged digitally for tourism and other sectors.”

Topics such as marketing, perseverance, personal and professional development were presented to youth by Roach in the IDB’s virtual campus on Tuesday afternoon. He also highlighted PanoGrama as an avenue through which upcoming steelpannists can obtain a wealth of knowledge, improve their craft and market themselves potentially to millions via television. His presentation ended with performances from 2021 PanoGrama winner, Keishaun Julien, and 2022 finalist Shaquille ‘Flogo’ Forbes. Julien also shared some of his experiences.

Steelpan in the Metaverse

IDB welcomes the partnership in the virtual and physical parts of this year’s programming. The organization has a country strategy for 2021-2025 that focuses on Digital Transformation. As a result, IDB sees the work that PanoGrama is doing as part of digitalizing our cultural expressions inclusive of pan. The partnership with PanoGrama was instrumental to these musically inclined participants and we will continue to work with our partners inclusive of PanoGrama since it falls in line with the IDB’s Vision 2025, which lays out a path to achieving recovery and inclusive growth in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Cheer Fair will culminate at Saith Park, Chaguanas on Saturday, August 27th and will see nine youth music and culture groups, along with PanoGrama who will offer steelpan, drumming and percussion performances during online activities and in a cultural show in Chaguanas. The event takes place from 1pm to 5pm.