- It was 90 degrees in the shade less than two weeks ago as
the When Steel Talks crew covered the Moods of Pan 2008
Festival in the beautiful island of Antigua. Today we
are a few thousand miles north and it is below freezing
though sunny! Despite the huge difference in
temperature both places have captured our undivided
attention for the same reason - the power of the steelpan
In spite of the
intimidating chilly temperatures, the Brooklyn Museum auditorium was
almost filled to capacity. The all-round positive energy emanating
from the organizers, parents and supporters was evident.
And as expected the CASYM (Caribbean American Sports & Cultural
Youth Movement, Inc.) concert heated up the Museum with the
musical instrument more associated with warmth, innovation
and genius than any other.
Red, green and
silver chrome were the colors of the night. Red and
green were for the holiday season and the gleaming chrome
was the CASYM front line steelpans on stage.
This night is about the young people.
It is about the parents, and about the community. In
addition it is about CASYM as an organization and its legacy.
A society is judged on how it prepares its young for the
future. In this regard, CASYM as an organization has
consistently been at the forefront of providing development
opportunities for the youth.
Now in its 25th year
of existence the organization has come full circle. CASYM
is an active and vital part of the New York youth
development landscape as it relates to the performing arts,
with the steelpan instrument as one of the main vehicles of
the organization’s outreach.
The instructors of the CASYM programs include Michelle Williams,
Joalene Griffith, Lakeisha Danglade, Travis Roberts, Anthony Lewis
and Mathew Best among others.
There is a unique buzz and sound of
exuberance that can only be generated by excited five-to-ten year olds waiting
anxiously for their turn to deliver performances in front
of a packed audience. Couple this with the chatter of
adoring and proud parents, family and friends - and you have the
recipe for a
very special and memorable evening.
The full complement of the arts
display as CASYM’s students gave the audience a bit of
drama, musical performance, poetry and dance. First to take
the stage was a bunch of pint-sized players made up of five and
seven year olds, known as CASYM’s “Class One.” Many of
these young performers could barely be seen from behind the
instruments they played. In fact, most of the time
what was visible to the audience were dancing feet as they
performed ‘Give Love on Christmas Day.’
There was a terrific
vocal medley delivered by Ms.
Elizabeth Lewis that
was followed by the CASYM Dancers. The very diminutive Isabel
Lewis gave a rousing performance of a rap song that
championed all of the virtues and benefits of being a “CASYM
girl,” which included being on the receiving end of a
The CASYM dancers
gave way to the Adult Class which is made of parents of
students of CASYM who came together just to perform for this
concert. They were followed by Class Two - the more
advanced students of CASYM’s music education program.
As the final act, it was the turn of CASYM’s stage side who closed the show with
Contact CASYM at
Click here for more on CASYM | (718) 735-6708/4932
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