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The beginning of the 1980's saw the Harps struggling to remain in existence, as its membership depleted to a mere nucleus. The band now depended solely on the ‘Tourist Boat’ engagements to survive financially. The sponsorship secured from Phoenix Cigarettes in 1977 lasted only until 1979 and the band was once again unsponsored as the decade of the 80's beckoned.

To provide some form of motivation to the remaining members and to establish some sort of purpose the band produced their third record album, "We Kinda Zess". The musical arrangements were done by Michael "Boose" Cyrus and was recorded at the Grenville Studios of Don Charles.

In 1984, the band changed leadership. Michael Cyrus became the new Captain with Leroy "Malu" Stephen as the Vice Captain. The fact that Angel Harps existed in 1984 was due mainly to the untiring and unceasing efforts of the previous Captain, Wilbur Thomas who sought and succeeded in maintaining continuity during the period 1979-1984. With this change in captaincy, came a complete change in the leadership structure of the band. Up until now the leadership of the band had consisted of a Captain and Vice Captain.

1984 saw the introduction of Manager, Carlyle Roberts, and Secretary/Treasurer Roger Depradine with David Seales as his Assistant. Together with the Captain and Vice Captain as well as Team members representing the various sections of the orchestra, the Management Team was now made up of 8 persons instead of two. This marked one of and probably the most successful periods (decade) for the steelband. Between 1984-1993, the Harps simply returned to where they belonged, right at the top.

Two things that contributed significantly in the Harps return to prime time happened that year; James Clarkson, who had been out of the State for a long period, returned to Grenada. Orlando Thomas and Ulric Fraser, soon to depart for North America, re-introduced the Junior/Learners Programme.

In Clarkson, the Harps regained their musically qualified composer, arranger and musician who would take the Harps' Music to new heights, establishing a sound of harmony with a heavy jazz influence, that is today unique to the Harps in Grenada. By 1990, the orchestra could produce a band of 80 plus members to play at Panorama, many of them having come through the Junior and Learners programme.

The Harps returned to competition in 1983, placing second in the 1983 Panorama Championships with "Rebecca" arranged by Michael Cyrus. It was the first time that the band had entered Panorama with the requirement of playing one tune. The practice of having to play two tunes for Panorama had ended a few years before.

The next year, 1984, the Harps were back in Champions row playing "Tourist Elsie" arranged by Michael Cyrus and James Clarkson. Later that year, in conjunction with Regan Nedd and the choir "A Group of Us", the band produced the highly successful "An Evening with Handel". This was a classical concert mixing steel and voices, which was staged over two nights at the St. Joseph's Convent in St. George's. The response was so tremendous that the band repeated the show in 1986 and this led to the recording of the band's fourth musical album, Serenade, in early 1987.

In 1985, the Harps notched their second Championship in as many years when they won the Panorama competition playing "Pan in Danger" arranged by James Clarkson. This was to be the last time that the Harps appeared in Panorama playing a "foreign" (in this case, a Trinidad) calypso. In 1986, "Cant stop the Angels" a James Clarkson composition and arrangement with lyrics by Carlyle Roberts saw the Harps begin what is now their normal panorama presentation, their own tune.

If ever there was a 'thing' about a name, then there was something with "Cant Stop the Angels". Looking to register their third consecutive panorama championship, the 'unstoppable' Harps ran into a brick wall. They finished last (6th), the judges and most of the audience at Queens Park claiming not to have heard the band but instead a "lot of noise". The microphone for the PA system had been left on at the back of the band, highlighting the rythym section and drowning out the sound of the band until someone turned it off in the last two minutes of the presentation. Sabotage, the fans cried... but this only served to strengthen the resolve of the Harps for 1987. Certainly for those members performing that night, the sound from within the band was as good as the best practice session and the general feeling was the band had performed well enough to win. This is also the year that the Harps' music took on a distinctly jazzy flavour.

After the debacle of 1986, the band engaged a new tuner, "Herman Guppy "Brown". The Harps returned to Panorama with a bang winning in style with "Who Mad" composed and arranged by James Clarkson, with lyrics by Carlyle Roberts and sung by Llewellyn "Baila" Archibald, all members of the Harps. 1987 also saw the beginning of another change in the Harps, their instruments having been in tuned in C# was now changed to Concert C resulting in a 'softer sweeter' tone for the band. 1988 and 1989 saw the Harps finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively in Panorama before once again grabbing the Championship in 1990 with ‘Soca Jump’.

Angel Harps

Much has changed from the early days to now. For one, the membership of the orchestra is more dynamic ranging in ages from age 9 to over age 55. Today the membership is almost split 50/50 among males and females most of whom have come through the band's Junior Programme and are still attending school. 

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GONI : la plateforme où tout s'échange
GONI : la plateforme où tout s'échange