Brooklyn, New York, USA - “There are very few accolades that have not been bestowed on CASYM (Caribbean American Sports & Cultural Youth Movement, Inc.) Steel Orchestra and its parent organization for success of its unparalleled musical, educational and community programs. But after again witnessing first-hand their annual Holiday Extravaganza it never gets old. The annual show held at the Brooklyn Museum showcases the artistic and creative talents of New York’s most prized resource and artists - the youth.
The tender age of some of the performers did not take away from the abilities of the evening’s entertainers on the big stage. After long hours of practice in the weeks leading up to the show, these up-and-coming musicians and enthusiastic dancers excitedly put on displays highlighting their exceptional steelpan acumen, vocals and dancing skills for adoring parents, family and friends, community members and their proud instructors. Performing were CASYM’s Class One with Rico Hunt and Lakeisha Danglade as instructors, and Class Two with Travis Roberts and Lakeisha taking the lead as tutors.
As always, special performances by CASYM’s stage side brought the curtains down on the event. Their repertoire included an arrangement and conducting by, CASYM’s very own Lance Maximin. The group’s short but competent mix included seasonal and popular music; a natural crowd favorite was ‘Gangnam Style’ complete with accompanying steps by CASYM captain Travis Roberts and fellow CASYMite and choreographer in his own right, Dominick Robinson.
But before the CASYM veterans wrapped up proceedings for another Christmas concert, everyone on hand had ample opportunity to take in the delightful and young CASYM ICIDIC Dancers, guest appearances by past CASYM graduates like Show Stoppers, vocalist Earl Davis (long-time friend of CASYM’s president emeritus Williams Jones), and super-confident youngster Devyn who, complemented by her talented dance crew, delivered a compelling stage presentation far better than artists several times over her own tender age.
CASYM’s annual Christmas extravaganza is an affirmation of a growing tradition, cultural vitality and relevance of a community, artform and people. The organization thrives on the connectivity and spirit of volunteerism that runs deep - and CASYM ensured they publicly thanked the parents overall described as the ‘lifeblood’ of their organization - the ones who they could call at a moment’s notice to assist in any regard. Several were recognized and presented with tokens of appreciation on stage during the evening.
It is indeed a special treat to have watched many of the CASYM members grow up from ‘tiny mites,’ now educators and parents themselves with children who are the new little ones performing in their cultural alma mater, the CASYM organization. Next year CASYM will celebrate thirty years of pursuing musical excellence and serving their community. The CASYM legacy continues.
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