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Coming Out Strong, They Can’t go Wrong

Harmony Music Makers Steel Orchestra Perform at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall for Distinguished Concerts International New York

Harmony Steel Orchestra performing at New York’s 2007 Panorama

New York - On Monday evening, May 26, 2008, the Harmony Music Makers Steel Orchestra out of Brooklyn met on the stage at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher for a “Memorial” performance.  As part of the program offered by Distinguished Concerts International New York, the show was titled: Global Spirit: Music of Many Cultures.

The first part of the performance showcased young people’s voices in songs inspired by music from the Dominican Republic, Japan, the Caribbean, Venezuela and Israel.  One of the pieces performed, “Kyrie” featured a lovely pan solo that served as a wonderful juxtaposition of pan and voice.

Harmony took the stage after the choral performance was completed.  While it was clear that some of the audience only came to see their children perform, those who remained to take a taste of something different were rewarded with a phenomenal performance by the steel orchestra.

Starting off with their rendition of Alicia Keys’ “No One”, offering their own choral renderings of the bridge to the song, the band set the stage for the performance to come.  Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody” came next and the band got into the groove of the song while the audience reacted positively to the performance.

Harmony’s unique rendition of “Endless Love” by Lionel Ritchie and with the band literally going down as they performed a decrescendo, it was clear that they put finishing touches on both the choreography and the arrangement of the song.  This lively version of the song transformed a ballad into something that made you want to move in your seat.

“Fantasy” by Earth, Wind and Fire was an arrangement that transformed itself from a slow quiet start to a jam with a solo thrown in for good measure.  Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely” began like a stroll in the park – very low, smooth and sensual.  It then exploded on the stage and offered a beautiful solo on the tenor pan.  It was clear that the seconds’ players in the front of the stage were enjoying themselves while they traded pans during this song.

After jumping off the podium and counting off on a seconds pan, conductor Patrick Davis enjoyed his band playing “Fiery” by Cecil Hume (Maestro) and danced on the stage to the beat. The entire band reacted to this song, calling to mind the lyrics: “Coming out strong, I can’t go wrong…” and “blazing in the streets.”  The rhythm section supported the song effectively, and visibly loved playing the music.

Like all good things, this too had to end.  My only comment other than the great time had at the performance was that we as a community have to publicize these events more so that they can be better attended.  I look forward eagerly to Harmony’s summer and would love to see them in any other venue.

 by AH

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