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Oasis Youth
Steel Pan Ensemble
in conjunction with
Pan United Youth Movement
''Annual Holiday Celebration"

Newark, New Jersey - Oasis Youth Steel Pan Ensemble, part of the Oasis Folk Arts Academy program directed by Bevan Black, proudly held it's first annual holiday celebration this past Sunday.  Parents, family members and well-wishers crowded into the meeting room/auditorium of the spacious facility that was previously an area hospital which closed its doors eight years ago.  It was subsequently acquired by Drs. Clyde Pemberton and Trevor Atherley and put to use as the New United Center, a meeting place for social and cultural activities for area residents, as they give back to the community.  Pemberton shared some heart-felt words with the audience, and thanked them for their support of the young people, and being part of his own dream of community outreach.

The steel pan ensemble is just part of the community initiative of the folk arts academy, Black's brainchild.  The young pan musicians showcased not only their talent but knowledge of music theory, with unflinching responses fielded by two members regarding chromatic scales and the demonstration of same. 

The renowned Thwaites brothers - Sherwin, Sean and Sheldon are intricately involved with this youth pan ensemble, and also supported and performed with the pannists at the show.  Now - in Newark, New Jersey - there has been a critical community outreach via the steelpan art form through the combined efforts of the Thwaites' Pan United Youth Movement initiative and Black's folk arts academy.  Sherwin and Sean Thwaites, both Berkeley School of Music graduates, are Pan United's musical directors.  At their New Jersey center they are ably assisted by Julien Cross affectionately known to all as 'Uncle Larry."

The holiday show featured several pan performances; two short but beautiful dances were performed by two individuals who were also pan players, and a poetry recital was also featured, illustrating the diverse cultural and artistic activities available at the folk arts academy.  'Uncle Larry' got to put aside his duties as Master of Ceremonies for a short while when he joined New Jersey Steel Rhythms on stage on double guitars.  Other program participants included but were not limited to the very competent Mistress of Ceremonies Charlene Romano, and Ras Shaka I who imparted 'Words of Wisdom' to the audience during the event.

Vocalist Sabreen Staples joined the Oasis Youth Steel Pan Ensemble for a special rendition of the Alicia Keys' hit If I Ainít Got You.  The audience was again treated to Staples' powerful vocal talents further along in the show when she joined the Thwaites family on stage toward the end of the program. 

There was no discernible dissent by the crowd despite the one-hour delay in the start of events.  Proud mamas, papas, aunties, uncles and the like clearly enjoyed every moment of the four-hour show which ended around 9:00 PM with an encore performance by the Oasis youth steel pan ensemble.  They rose superbly to the occasion with a repeat performance of Pan In 'A' Minor, Trini To The Bone, and Militant's Passion.  The audience crowded around the youngsters and danced as they prepared to leave. 

There is no doubt of this event's resounding success. From the response to this inaugural holiday showcase, academy director Bevan Black may have to choose a more spacious area within the facilities for next year's show, to accommodate everyone wishing to attend.  This year's holiday affair was extremely well-attended, with all available seating taken.  The news is sure to spread and interest will grow, as more youngsters in the community become involved in the activities of the Oasis Folk Arts Academy, especially that of its Youth Steel Pan Ensemble.

Click here for Oasis Youth Steel Pan Ensemble Live At Stage 2 >> click here

Pan United Youth Movement may be contacted at PanUnited4youth@hotmail.com or www.PanUnited.org 

C. Phillips, Basement Press Corp.
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