Concert Bandshell Program
A good friend of mine once told me it is not nice to pick on "people who
are not able." If they lack the ability to do better and everybody
knows it - why bother picking on them? That was all cool- until last
Extreme jealousy has set in. In Brooklyn, New York there is an annual
event called the Martin Luther King, Jr. Concert Series held at
Wingate Park. Wingate Field is located on Winthrop Street between
Brooklyn and Kingston Avenues, opposite Kings County Hospital which is
about a mile from the grounds where the New York steelband panorama is
So what? What does this have to with steelband
business you may ask? Absolutely nothing!! Except one of the
When Steel Talks
crew attended the event and was given a
program. As a matter of fact all the attendees (9,000
[nine thousand] plus)
were given a program. For free! The program is a 64 page Bandshell
booklet that gave in-depth info and promotional material on the
performing artists, sponsors and upcoming shows. And this
happens for at least the first two or three weeks. That's an
outlay of at least 18,000 or 27,000 programs.
Again, we are extremely jealous. Why can't the paying steelpan folks
get a professional looking program like this on panorama night?
Imagine being able to see pictures of the bands and get pertinent
information on the performing steel orchestras while one enjoys the
panorama. It's been a very long time since I've seen a program at
panorama. I still have one from nineteen seventy something. I still
treasure mine, and I can tell you it makes a fantastic memento. I hope
this "oversight" is not a reflection on how the promoters feel about the paying steelband panorama attendees.
Look, we can overlook the fact that this concert at Wingate Park
featuring Slave, The Ohio Players and Cameo was awesome. The lighting,
the stage, the sound, the video the stage production - what a show.
We're talking pro stuff here - no amateur junk. And the whole thing
- stage set-up - was
put up the morning of the show. That's right, the morning of the show.
week the production crew comes in on Monday morning and puts the whole
stage together for the evening event. And then breaks everything down and
neatly packs the entire ensemble away sometimes as early as Tuesday morning.
There were many differences between this concert at Wingate Park and
the New York panorama. To this we say - so what?
So what? We can overlook the fact that the live Wingate
concerts have gotten better every year, and that in a shorter space of time,
has outdistanced the steelband panorama in every important facet
except the enthusiasm, talent and professionalism that the steelpan
performers bring to the panorama.
So what? We can overlook the fact that there was a VIP and
press area for the performing artists. Pan folks aren't artists,
to merit that caliber of treatment though, correct?
So what? We can overlook the fact that the artists and show
attendees were greeted with smiles, manners and courtesy. Pan players
and panorama attendees aren't really people, though?
So what? We can overlook the fact that the grass is greener on
their side and everyone involved (attendees, artists, sponsors etc.) is
happier. The Wingate show is the bomb, it is a real show. We are not
sure who the panorama production crew is trying to be like when they
grow up. But we're not sure you'd want to be around when they do...
Therefore, to all of this we say "So What?" Except - to the issue of a program.
Come on, we
have to draw the line somewhere. This is inexcusable. How can
Wingate Park patrons EACH get
a program and not the panorama folks? Some of the sponsors are
the same. Or don't the sponsors have a care as to how their
funds are spent, or are not put to use?
We just have to mention this, in addition to
the issue of the program. The Wingate concert series is the
project of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. And he
also hosted the show for the most part. What was laudable was
his knowledge about the acts - their respective histories,
accomplishments, and iconic status etc. Markowitz was versed
and articulate during breaks in performances - a sign of respect for
the audience - and the artists themselves.
Would it be asking too much if the same was to be
done at the New York Panorama? Instead of sometimes off-color
and off-subject humor, and more usually, woefully distorted musical
din from less than caring DJs/sound people, why not share with all
present, facts about the participating bands, and the steelband art
form in general? Is that asking too much?
Clearly there are some folks who do not get out much. Some who may have
never been to a real live concert. Do yourself a favor. No
- do the pan
community a favor. Go to Wingate park next week and watch how they
transform a normal park into a major performance arena and put on a
real concert. Peabo Bryson and Regina Bell are performing.
Lighting, sound, stage, seats, program - it was worth every penny.
Ooops - did we mention that the concerts are free?
Mobile Stage for Evening Concert -
a weekly undertaking for the duration of this annual
summer concert series