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Panache Steel Orchestra on the right track!

by Lesley Margetson-Roberts

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St. John’s, Antigua & Barbuda - As I got to my seat on Sunday evening, 9th May, at the Multipurpose Centre at Perry Bay, I could feel the excitement in the air.  The room was filling up with fellow pan lovers in eager anticipation of the evening’s performances hosted by Panache specially for Mother’s Day.  After the National Anthem on pan, the Master of Ceremonies for the evening was introduced, and comedian Trinidadian Errol Fabien appeared.  As soon as he opened his mouth I knew we were in for a treat - again!  He is a master comedian, and fills what would be otherwise tedious moments of waiting with wit and sometimes side-splitting humor - a perfect way to bridge the gaps between performers.

Panache Steel Orchestra
Panache Steel Orchestra on stage at the Multipurpose Centre, Perry Bay -- Photo: Thaddeus Price

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The evening unfolded with performances by Alston and Olson on pan and keyboards, a beautiful start to the show, followed by the energetic and entertaining Antigua/ Barbuda Defence Force band. I am particularly happy that we can experience the talent of this band in such a forum, since it gives us a true taste of their versatility.  They had audience members itching to break out into a twist for one number in particular, and in general they wowed us with their impressive repertoire, joined occasionally by the dynamic Lincoln “Blade” Stanislaus.

The group formerly known as Four Grace then wooed the audience with their smooth, mellow, beautifully blended tones - a capella as usual - making us doubt their claim that they had not sung together for seven years.  They were followed by Ruel Browne who serenaded the audience (especially the females) with his well known selections by Barry White and Teddy Pendergrass, among others.  Of course between the acts MC Errol Fabien used the opportunity to showcase his enormous talent as a comedian. He had a captive audience throughout, and devised methods to allow individuals to win the many prizes that were available. He even managed to get his picture taken with the Governor-General, who humored him with her usual grace and warmth.

Panache Steel Orchestra
Panache on stage before an appreciative crowd at the Multipurpose Centre -- Photo: Thaddeus Price

The main act of the evening was a full half-hour performance by Panache Steel Orchestra.  Once again they displayed a repertoire that is different from the usual pan selections, an arranging skill that is colorful and almost unmatched, and a technique of playing that more resembles caressing.  Their selections included “You Decorated My Life,” “Just The Way You Are,” “Shout To The Lord,” “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” (featuring the golden vocals of Alvin Livingstone), and “I Feel Good” (including a fantastic performance on saxophone by Dr. Lester Simon). The climax was a gospel medley made up of the ageless “Hallelujah Chorus,” followed by “How Great Thou Art,” “To God be the Glory,” and “Majesty.”  Each successive performance outdid the previous one and the final piece was a fitting end to a long but wonderful evening.

Thank you, Panache, for what was indeed “A Treat for Mothers!”

Contact Robin Margetson of Panache Steel Orchestra

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