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Caribbean Youth Panoramics Rock Philadelphia

A When Steel Talks Exclusive


Philadelphia, USA - The panists from Caribbean Youth Panoramics gathered outside their indoor pan yard on East 53rd Street in Brooklyn just before 6:00 AM in readiness for the contracted bus to take them to Philadelphia to perform. Eventually the bus arrived - very late - about 7:30 AM - one and a half hours later than their originally scheduled departure time.

As the Caribbean Youth Panoramics (CYP) quickly and expertly set up their stage side steelband, a crowd of their peers and elders looked on expectantly as the preparations ended and the panists stood behind their instruments. The arena-type facility was packed with the hyped audience who sat in anticipation. It was not too long before that word had spread that the 'Caribbean Youth Steel Drum Orchestra' hailing from Brooklyn, New York would be performing at the "Carnegie Hall of Philadelphia" - The Mann Center for the Performing Arts' Young People's Summer Concert Series 2003 in Philadelphia on July 21.

The musicians swung into a Latin-flavored piece for their opening number, followed by a sultry arrangement of 'Red Red Wine'. The band's arranger Joseph 'Franklin' Gerald directed them through crescendos and falls of a soul-stirring delivery of the gospel traditional Be Still My Soul. Jala Jala like the other pieces met with immense appreciation, but CYP's final choice - the Jackson 5 classic I Want You Back clinched the set and garnered roars of approval.

As is always the case, there were people in awe, never before having heard or seen a steel orchestra performance, and the queries ranged from 'What is making all the high notes' to 'How do you make the instrument?' These questions and more, CYP founder Franklin Gerald was only too pleased to answer as immediately after the show several members of the audience quickly made their way down to the front of the stage and gathered round to receive an impromptu lesson and history of the steelpan.

Peter B. Lane, President and CEO for The Mann Center for the Performing Arts - would later say to the panists at a small reception 'that their performance had drawn a record-breaking crowd [of over seven thousand], a first in the five-year history of the Center's Young People in Concert Series. Education/Outreach Director for the Center Rhoda A. Blount was full of praise for the band's performance, and assured that they would be back for 2004. More on Caribbean Youth Panoramics may be found here, and the band's President Joseph "Franklin" Gerald may be contacted at 1 (718) 272-0695.

by CP - Basement Press Release Writer

Related article:  US Youth Steelband Set All-Time Audience Record
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