When Steel Talks


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Higher Levin
& Meyer Levin Steel Orchestras-
Still Reaching for Higher Heights

4th Annual All Star Culture Shock features Steel Orchestras and Urban Talent at It's Best

Brooklyn, New York -

The Higher Levin Steel Orchestra, and the sixth, seventh and eighth grade steel orchestras at host institution Meyer Levin - IS (Intermediate School) 285 - are still reaching for the 'higher heights,' and show no sign of looking back at all.

If anything, Meyer Levin's 4th Annual All Star Culture Shock held on June 15, served notice that the upcoming pannists are proud to be part of the Meyer Levin legacy, under the proud stewardship of director Tichard Chapman.  Beaming parents, family, faculty and fellow Meyer Levin students filled the auditorium to capacity for more than two hours of entertainment put on by talented youngsters and teens in the form of skits, song, dance and poetry, with the steel orchestra providing full musical accompaniment for the vocalists.  As he had done at the Winter concert, Principal Edward Gentile would also join the cast once again and serenade the audience with Frank Sinatra's classic My Way, with the full backing of the steel orchestra.

Around seven-thirty, the tone for the evening was set with the opening performance of both the US and Black anthems.  The first half featured short skits highlighted by vocalists Nyocia Edwards and Ezra Davis who had no trouble at all pleasing the earnest crowd with their passionate renditions of I Rise Above and Overjoyed, respectively.  Davis additionally took to the dance floor with Ashlee Cummings immediately after to the strains of the eighth grade orchestra's Lady In Red.  Gregory Holley took his turn behind the microphone with a quick-witted rap and had his turn to shine as well; all three acts were backed by the Meyer Levin steel orchestras, with changeover of pannists as appropriate.  Along with a poetry session by Aziza, the first half also included full performances from the Meyer Levin steelpan musicians.  Director Tichard Chapman wisely opted to keep the young musicians enthused with a blend of music staples, and popular urban-tinged material.  Two dance groups featuring extremely limber and innovative male members of Meyer Levin's student body mesmerized the crowd, with several seemingly mind-boggling portrayals.

The second part of the show followed a short intermission.  This time, the Higher Levin steel orchestra was featured, with a two-person skit supporting their performance with a light comical interchange tinged with, dare we say, romance?   Comfortably seated in their 'beach chairs' at the front of the stage, the 'couple' depended on Higher Levin to provide their very own 'personal' concert in three varied settings, with the orchestra running through wardrobe changes to suit.  The first was conventional, the second invoked the atmosphere of the islands, and the third movement simmered to a boil with a blend of soca and reggae medleys.

The young musicians, artistes and actors connected with their fellow students in the audience, who, as part of the capacity audience, unreservedly provided robust chorus accompaniment complete with upraised hands for all the well-known selections, and who wholeheartedly applauded their peers on stage.  The entire package was just over two hours, and even the 'more mature' attendees left with smiles on their faces and twinkles in their eyes after the exhibition of exuberant talent displayed by the artists.  Count the days until the next event featuring the Meyer Levin and Higher Levin Steel Orchestras.  It's going to be a blast.


For more info Contact --  higherlevin@hotmail.com

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