- Celebrating 35 years in Pan
Antigua & Barbuda -
For three days the steelpan instrument took front and center
as some of the most renowned musical talent in the world showcased
their gifts at the 2007 Moods of Pan Festival in Antigua.
Now in it's ninth year, Moods of Pan has firmly established
itself as one of the international musical concert treasures.
In addition it has made it's way into the consciousness of the
Antiguan & Barbudan people. Operating under the guidance of its creator,
Gemonites Steel Orchestra, the show has steadily increased in
popularity and recognition.
Day one of the festival opened with a
major tribute to one of Antigua's favorite sons,
The show, called "Vere Henry - Celebrating 35 years in Pan" was dedicated
to celebrating and showing appreciation, for the continuous work
Vere has done for the Antiguan & Barbudan and international steelpan community.
For thirty-five years Mr. Henry has promoted the steelpan
instrument in Antigua & Barbuda and in the USA where he currently
resides. As a musician, leader, arranger and mentor
Mr. Henry has had a profound impact on many steelpan
players in their formative years. "He taught us to
respect education and the steelpan and much more... he
taught us to be responsible men..." said Everton Gonzales,
a former student of Mr. Henry. Vere is also one of the
founding members of Gemonites Steel Orchestra, creators of
in the development of the annual Moods of Pan Festival.
Gate Steel Orchestra
The world's oldest steel orchestra "Hells
Gate" opened the Moods of Pan 2007 festival with a bang.
Hells Gate varied repertoire showcased their versatility and
musicianship. From ballads to 'jump-up' to gospel, Hells
Gate brought it all. Moreover, they left no doubt as to
why this storied and highly respected music organization is
one of the top orchestras in Antigua & Barbuda. In addition Hells Gate
is the reigning 2007 panorama champion, having won the title
two consecutive years. Hells Gate can truly boast that
it has some of the best players in the region. Of particular
note was the performance of one of Hells Gate's young bass players
- a true performing 'triple-threat,' the likes of which has not seen before. He can play, act, dance and hold the
attention of the audience. The iconic steel orchestra ended their set
with a thunderous roar as they played their panorama-winning
rendition to a standing ovation.
The night's serenading of pan stalwart Vere Henry continued
with selections from PMS Steel Orchestra, followed by Gemonites Steel Orchestra.
The latter's rendition of John Legend's
"Ordinary People" went down especially well with
all those present. These local acts provided inspired
Shades of Gospel
As a Moods of Pan tradition to showcase awesome
talent from around the globe - the Friday night show attendees
were in for a special treat when gospel-oriented
Shades of Gospel from Tennessee,
a musical volley of spirituals that had the audience clapping and
swaying. Recording artist
provided an additional treat as she performed her lead
pieces while accompanying Shades of Gospel. The group
traveled to Antigua to both perform and honor Vere Henry who
also resides in Tennessee.
Closing the opening leg of the Moods of Pan
Festival was the main attraction of the night, Vere Henry with
his Carib Sounds Steel Band. The band is made up primarily
of members of his musically talented
and immediate family. A family affair it is, as Vere's two
daughters, three sons and wife are all performing members of
the group. Vere's group took the audience on a musical
journey that included gospel, Christmas carols and soul classics
such as "On the Boardwalk."
Vere Henry and Carib Sounds Steel Band
Vere's popularity and appreciation are not
limited to the steelpan community. Good Morning Antigua
and Barbuda, the country's popular television program featured Vere Henry and
his group performing live. Day one of the Moods of Pan
2007 festival was off to a great start.