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Engineers Understand that Special Steelpan Music Formula


Pantonic Captivate Audience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology


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MIT students listen to Pantonic Steel Orchestra on campus

Cambridge, Massachusetts - Every student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is abundantly aquainted with the laws of physics, sound, metallurgy and chemistry.  Applied mathematics both real and/or imaginary is nothing but a sidebar for this technologically  gifted body.  After all, MIT is one of the most prestigious and respected engineering institutions of higher learning in the world – so whatever puts a quizzical look or expression of wonderment on the face of any of the MIT student body and faculty, indeed occupies a very special place.

New Yorks Pantonic Steel Orchestra returned to the campus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology yesterday to brighten up a somewhat overcast day during MIT’s preview weekend. For the past three years, Pantonic have been present at the request of MITs Caribbean Club, who arrange the steel orchestras performance as part of the welcoming activities that greet those visiting the campus, such as prospective students, their parents and families.

Pantonic Steel Orchestra performing on MIT's campus

Who said engineers can't dance?  Indeed one could not help but notice that the normally unflappable, stoic and self–absorbed MIT whiz kids had a skip and a hop to their step as they made their way across campus, listening to the musical vibes of  Pantonic Steel Orchestra.  The twinkling of the eyes, approving gaze and curving of lips into smiles, are well–known body language indicators that suggest a potential future steelpan music fan for life, and all were present in abundance.  Shockingly, the normally reserved scientists and engineers could be seen in broad daylight dancing in public to the hypnotic grooves of Pantonic, who, though they had traveled with a smaller than usual contingent, still packed a musical wallop.

 Pantonic Steel Orchestra in video

As the enrolled MIT students themselves made their way to and fro across the area where Pantonic played, many stopped, some for a selection or two, others to take in much more of the sessions as delivered by the pannists.  MIT faculty mingled with parents and others to enjoy and applaud selections such as Amazing Grace, Destra Garcia’s I Dare You, When Will I See You Again, Fiery, Tiney Winey, Earth A Run Red and Argentina. The infectious rhythms had quite a few engineers dancing; they appeared to have as much energy to move as long as the music continued.

As was expected, many cameras and camcorders popped out to capture the sight of the steel pan players.  One young woman ran up to the band while it played and seized the opportunity to have her picture beside Pantonic playfully emulating their movements, snapped by her friend as a memento.  They investigated, studied and collected data as any good engineer would do, and evidently by all the shaking hips and applause, came to the conclusion that steelpan music is good for the soul.

Pantonic is without doubt one of the best steel orchestras in the United States with many awards and championships under their belt.  However, it is their continued adaptability and  ability to capture the imagination and interest of the uninitiated, that sets them apart from the other great orchestras.  It is no wonder that a young MIT student upon experiencing her first Pantonic performance and becoming enthralled by the group’s show, had but one question and action on her mind:  “How do I start a steelband here at MIT” she asked?  Don’t be surprised to see a bunch of scientists and engineers manning the newly–formed MIT Steel Orchestra in the very near future.  For Pantonic – “Mission Accomplished.”

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