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Date: 05.29.06

PanMasters 2006 Jamboree
Opens Steelband Summer Season with a Bang!!



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Maryland - Traditionally, Memorial Weekend marks the unofficial beginning of summer in North America.  And Summer marks the beginning of the steelband season in the north east region of the United States.  This weekend PanMasters held its annual 'Steelband Jamboree'  in North Brentwood, Maryland.  The event has steadily grown in popularity, attendance and quality every year since it's inception.  Additionally, the show has quickly established itself as one of the premier outdoor steelband music entertainment performing activities that allows steelbands and music fans to truly sample top groups together  from  throughout the Northeast region. 



St. Veronica's on stage

The PanMasters Jamboree affords the audience an opportunity to truly gauge the artist value, musical competence and entertainment index of the performers.  PanMasters, the organizers of the event, did not disappoint the large number of dedicated steelband music connoisseurs assembled in audience  on Sunday to support, critique, compare and thoroughly enjoy the  musically and stylistic diverse steel orchestras.  In addition to PanMasters (North Brentwood, MD), steel orchestras assembled for this 2006 jamboree included the Rhythm Project (Norfolk, VA), Harbor Knights (Baltimore, MD), Positive Vibrations (Hyattsville, MD), CASYM (Brooklyn, NY), St. Veronica's (Baltimore, MD), DC Pan Jammers (Washington, DC) and Pantonic (Brooklyn, NY).



Harbor Knights

The PanMasters Jamboree has its own unique flavor and attitude as it is not a competition.  It is a display of talent, skill and tradition.  Moreover, while it is not a steelband panorama that comes with its own set of rules and idiosyncrasies, the jamboree clearly inspires high level musical performances.


Each act was given proximately forty minutes to perform a music set that showcased their versatility, musical ability (performance and arranging) and sonic/tonal qualities of their instruments (tuner ability).  The crowd was clearly  pleased with the performances of the bands as the musical  menu offered a wide variety of musical genres covering classical music to current chart-topers.  In addition to their music performances, bands visually enhanced their productions on occasion -  with quick choreographed movements and vocal accompaniment by band players as part of this year's presentation.



Positive Vibrations on stage

On a particularly pleasant note - the audience was allowed to hear the natural acoustics of the blend of family of steelpan instruments present in each orchestra as there was no electronic amplification (the dreaded sound reinforcement engineer was not allowed to terrorize the audience on this day).  There is nothing comparable to the natural mixture of steelpan instruments in open air.


The organizers used a double stage (one elevated platform and the other on ground level) setup area to allow for quick transitions from one act to another.  The bands quickly abandoned the elevated platform as it was recognized that floor level provided a better sonic quality for the basses and low range pans.  In hindsight a three-stage ground level setup could have easily worked and provided seamless transitions from act to act.



Jamboree Program

Show attendees were provided with a seated area that was covered with a temporary tent structure to provide shelter from the hot afternoon sun.  In addition, jamboree attendees were given a color program containing comprehensive biography of the participating steelbands.


The annual PanMasters Jamboree event has grown in status, and size.  It is a proven crowd-pleaser, and a summer steelband music opener to pan music connoisseurs.  Steelband organizations from all over should seriously consider being on the invitation list to this trend-setting event.




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