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On the Road with Pantonic Steel Orchestra - New Rochelle Here We Come

BID Music on the Green 2012!

Another When Steel Talks Concert Review

Music on the Green Video

New Rochelle, New York - The large Summer evening crowd  sang, clapped, danced and rocked to the unmistakable music, sounds and rhythm of Pantonic Steel Orchestra. And when it was over the crowd clamored for more. All too ready to oblige, the group performed one more song, bringing to a halt the folks who had already started to move to the exits - believing that the show was over.  Yes indeed, it was a true case of dancing and singing in the exits and in the aisles, which were at the periphery of the Green. If there is a “no dancing in the end zone” rule in New Rochelle, it was clearly happily violated by these concert attendees.

Pantonic Steel Orchestra performs in New Rochelle for the Music on the Green concert series
Pantonic performs in New Rochelle for the Music on the Green concert series

The young band of “Tonic” players, “Pan moms” and yes,  proud “Pan dads,” along with management all loaded the truck and vans from the Pantonic panyard and headed north to the town of New Rochelle - which is located just outside of the New York City limits. Downtown New Rochelle is a vibrant and inviting area; located less than one hour away from Manhattan, the city provides a beautiful small-town vibe in contrast to the hustle and commotion of the Big Apple.

Pantonic Steel Orchestra performs in New Rochelle for the Music on the Green concert series
Pantonic Steel Orchestra performs in New Rochelle on The Green

Pantonic opened the evening’s entertainment with a varied set of its standards.  From Gamble and Huff’s classic Don’t Leave Me This Way to a Caribbean-laced arrangement of the Beatles’ unforgettable ballad Long and Winding Road, the highly-engaged audience had already become Pantonic and steelpan music fans for life. The infectious music and enthusiastic performance by the orchestra brought lots of applause and dancing feet.  By the time Pantonic dropped their versions of the monster Maroon 5 hit Moves Like Jagger and Chris Brown’s She Ain’t You, there was scarcely a person without a camera or cell phone out, recording, and head swaying to the music. And of course there was that encore demand. Pantonic dropped Bacchanalist and Vibes Cyah Done under the now full moon-lit sky. Needless to say New Rochelle will never be the same from all the dancing (voluntary and involuntary) that went on.

Onlookers take in performance of Pantonic Steel Orchestra at New Rochelle
Onlookers take in performance of Pantonic Steel Orchestra at New Rochelle

This concert was part of the ongoing works by the New Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District (BID), which is committed to  creating a vital Downtown area through “—attracting shoppers, recruiting new businesses, providing enhanced services.”  In addition BID —“has pledged to preserve the charm and appeal of this commercial center as the historic heart of the greater New Rochelle community.”

The official name of this outdoor concert series is  “Music on the Green,” and made possible by BID in cooperation with the New Rochelle Department of Parks & Recreation and the New Rochelle Public Library. The ‘Green’ was packed with people from all over as they descended on the performance area with portable  beach and lawn chairs, ready for a command performance.

Alvin Clayton (center) with Pantonic personnel
Alvin Clayton (center) with Pantonic personnel

Upon arrival at the event venue, Pantonic Steel Orchestra was warmly greeted by the concert officials and arriving audience members before even striking a note.  The New Rochelle residents and business people are extremely friendly and welcoming, as demonstrated by area business owners like Alvin Clayton of Alvin & Friends, who personally came out to greet the members of Pantonic and extend an invitation to visit his establishment.  Alvin & Friends is a restaurant  specializing in Southern Contemporary and Caribbean foods.

Alvin & Friends Restaurant
Alvin & Friends Restaurant

On a quick visit to Alvin & Friends which was located directly across the street from the ‘Green,’ it was immediately apparent why the multi-talented Alvin Clayton was the owner of such a successful venture. The homey and inviting restaurant was packed with happy patrons. It was clearly one of the evening hotspots of New Rochelle. Moreover, the environment and atmosphere take after the professionalism and hospitality of its owner. Alvin & Friends and the city of New Rochelle are definitely places to visit and experience.

It was another great musical experience for Pantonic Steel Orchestra and also concert attendees - many of whom seemed transfixed and marveled at the tender ages and ability of many of the Pantonic players.  A great experience was had by all.

Contact Pantonic:  email; voice 1 (718) 421-2041


Pantonic Steel Orchestra performers

Pantonic Steel Orchestra at New Rochelle
Pantonic Steel Orchestra

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