Brooklyn, New York, USA - It’s easy to be angry. Sometimes it seems like our entire culture is being destroyed right before our very eyes. This year’s lack of a Panorama in New York is disappointing on so many dimensions. Even if we allow for some grace in the post-COVID (is it really post?) come-back era, if we look far enough down the road we can see that pan as we know it is irreparably damaged and changed when we don’t hold the competition. We can’t blame this all on gentrification and neo-colonisation.
Despers USA Steel Orchestra at Panorama in New York
There may be those who continue to say that the Panorama is destroying pan. For those, we could remind them that pan is an instrument that plays music. It won’t die; just as the violin is played some six centuries later, pan is here to stay in some form or other. We want pan to be one of the many vehicles available to engage our young people in the arena of music. We want them to be able to fan a flame that was sparked in a pan yard that allows them to go on to pursue a career in music – even as we know that those careers can be moderately lucrative financially.
Sonatas Steel Orchestra at Panorama in New York
Panorama, however, is a different animal. There are all sorts of reasons that people participate in this magical event, and not all want to become professional musicians. Some love the excitement and the bragging rights. Some love the camaraderie. Think of it though; where else can you literally have people of all ages coming together over a composition. We are still able to confer some wisdom on our young people this unique way; and let’s face it, with the ever-shrinking public school arts budgets, pan is some of our youth’s only access to musical instruments.
ADLIB Steel Orchestra at Panorama in New York
Panorama, though, should be able to be preserved without interfering with the ability of artists to offer pan in different settings and dimensions. It’s both/and. Not either/or. How do we effectively communicate this to the entities that could potentially promote Panorama when they think that a mere recital of pan should be the showcase of the Labor Day festivities? Those who would willingly decimate the hard work that has been poured into pan, with little remuneration might well be seen as enemies when they put the future of the event at risk so cavalierly.
Pan Fantasy Steel Orchestra at Panorama in New York
Maybe we need to share our visions with them. We want a Panorama and we want other things. The Panorama has a stage and an appropriate sound system and video recording so that our work can be documented. It has a treatment of the players as human beings at the gate as they enter to play their hearts out. It has timely payment of prize monies and appearance fees. It has fruitful planning discussions that begin early in the year.
CASYM Steel Orchestra at Panorama in New York
What does the rest of the year look like? It looks like collaboration around the storage of pans and racks. It looks like other shows that are NOT competitions that showcase the beauty of the instrument. It looks like workshops for aspiring players and leaders and tuners so that we can not only preserve, but we can move forward. Those workshops could be in tuning, organizational governance, not-for-profit law, and grant-writing to name a few. No one is asking for a fish, but for the collaboration with those who have access to resources so that we can cooperatively learn how to fish.
Pantonic Steel Orchestra at Panorama in New York
It’s easy to be angry, but much harder to be strategic. Let’s give that a shot to salvage something we love.
D’Radoes Steel Orchestra at Panorama in New York
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