Brooklyn, New York, USA - ďItís beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you goĒ or so the song goes. But everyone like knows it isnít really Christmas until the annual CASYM Christmas dinner and show has taken place.
With colors of red, white and green everywhere, on December 23, 2018 the St. Gabrielís Episcopal Church in Brooklyn, New York was abuzz with the excitement of the youth of Class One and Class Two looking forward to their nightís performance. Past CASYM students/members, family and friends of years gone by, CASYMís present students and young ones who will undoubtedly be in CASYMís future - locked in a life cycle of CASYMís past, present and future. The show displayed a reality version of ďA CASYM Christmas Carol,Ē but minus the ghosts and Ebenezer Scrooge, of course. Instead, all present were gathered to witness, feel and live the experience of what is almost always one of the organizationís two annual signature concert events, shining the music spotlight on steel orchestra performances while also incorporating the element of dance.
CASYMís Class One performs at the organizationís 2018 Christmas Concert in Brooklyn, New York
For many years When Steel Talks has followed the growth of CASYM Steel Orchestra as both a community-based music educational organization and as a performing arts institution.
CASYMís Class Two performs at the organizationís 2018 Christmas Concert in Brooklyn, New York
With the CASYM legacy firmly in place it is all about the generations now. Generations of Pan players that reinforce the established success and tradition of the organization. CASYMís investment in self and community has come full circle. Michelle Williams-Pierre-Louis, a CASYM executive, player and pan mom has brought this story to life. She began playing with CASYM as a youngster and in later years moved into an administrative role within the music organization, and also became an educator herself, while maintaining performance prominence as a pannist with the steel orchestra. As an educator, one of her young charges she taught in CASYM, Rico Hunte, has in turn grown up as an educator and performing artist himself, and is now teaching Williams-Pierre-Louisí own son.
Rico Hunte, Travis Roberts (CASYM President), Michelle Williams-Pierre-Louis, and Lakeisha Danglade at the organizationís 2018 Christmas Concert
One of the age-old questions that all organizations face is: how does one know what success looks like; or - how do you know when it has been achieved? Beyond the obvious joy of parents wallowing in the bliss of seeing children perform - the annual CASYM Christmas show serves as an affirmation of the tremendous success of the institution. And again they did not disappoint. Self-contained, efficient and self-sufficient.
A fantastic CASYM Christmas journey it was, as in addition to CASYMís Class One and Class Two, past CASYMites Jahlani Roberts and Elroy Primus gave special performances - closing with CASYM veterans in their stageside, keeping it all in the family.
A CASYM Christmas Carol indeed.
Leave a comment in the WST forum