When Steel Talks
Post-New York Panorama Season Review
WIADCA/USSA earn a strong "

New York Panorama was held on Saturday August 30, 2003
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This year, 2003, New York’s Steel band panorama was a joint effort by promoter W.I.A.D.C.A. (West Indian-American Day Carnival Association) and USSA (United States Steelband Association) representative for the bands.  The following is the When Steel Talks review of the show held at the Brooklyn Museum grounds on Saturday August 30th.

As we said in our pre-show review, this year’s event was promoted as the best ever.

The best panorama ever, it was not.  It was an entertaining show.  It was well-attended.  The bands came ready for prime time.

In spite of a late start which was strange, considering the first band stood on stage ready and waiting to perform for at least 20 minutes, the show moved quickly once it began.  The bands moved quickly on and off the stage.  The results were announced within 20 minutes of the last band's performance.  We give the joint effort of this year’s Panorama promoters - WIADCA/USSA - a grade of "C-".  There is a possibility of a "C" depending on if there is a quality audio and video recording of the event available to the public. The bands get a "B" for coming through again in big time fashion in what has to be one of the most difficult and hostile years for pan in New York.


The Bands
They came ready for prime time.  Most of them were MTV and Showtime ready.  In general they all looked good and were camera ready.  Some uniforms and presentations were superb.  Indeed many fashion statements were made.  CYP and ADLIB looked great on stage. Pantonic showed creativity with props on their stands.

The Performances
This was not one of the most competitive panoramas.  Pantonic left the pack behind with a performance for the ages.  It was indeed a fantastic delivery.  As Bradley said, “only this band could have delivered this music like this and they can compete with any in the world”.  There were no major surprises in this panorama.  Radoes pulled it together as expected and allowed arranger Clive Bradley to hold down both the 1st and 3rd positions.  It is safe to say that no New York arrangers’ job is guaranteed for 2004 year, except Bradley’s.


While the event was well attended no new records are going to be set here.  Promotions were done through normal channels - essentially radio and print media. The outreach was local.  However, the New York pan appeal is international.  Pan aficionados were there in droves.  They eat drink and sleep pan.  Wherever the panorama is they will be there.  They do not need any coaching, just when and where.  Having said that, where were the new people attending their very first panorama? No out reach was made to them.  Not enough effort was made to take advantage of TV and internet advertising.  The future of the pan movement is in attracting new people to listening and appreciating pan.  There is no better show than a panorama to do this.  Where were the pan commercials, the steel band billboards on 42nd Street, Church Avenue???  How do you print a promotional flyer with no pictures of any New York bands after 27 years of pan? This is the media capital of the world.  An opportunity was missed.

The WIADCA official web site is embarrassing.  Any organization that heads an event that pulls over 4 million people have to do better in providing timely info on the net.  As of today the pan portion of web site is still heavily erroneous and shows blatant disregard for the professionalism of the pan people themselves.

Judging is subjective.  Either you have competent and fair judges or you don’t.  Next!

Press Conference Area
The pan players are the artists.  It is their day.  The Bradleys, Pelhams, Philmores and Greenidges are the giants of the steelband world.  Access to the players and arrangers by the media 20 minutes after they cleared the stage for group shots and interviews by local and foreign press in a special briefing room or area is essential.

What’s the purpose of meeting with governors, mayors, kings and queens if you cannot get permission for bands to practice past 9:00pm on the Friday before panorama after 27 years?

Is a Program of the Panorama, listing band names, selections, etc. - for the audience - to much to ask for???

Show Production
Great! Added a much-needed boost to the show.

The Stage
Too Small!!!  Too Small!!!  Too Small!!!  Ramp to access stage much too steep.  No backdrop to project sound forward to audience

It stank.  These folks did not have a clue.  Can somebody spell ‘SOUND CHECK’? It is tragic that the bands spend so much money on tuning and blending pans for a unique tonal quality, only to have it massacred by the sound engineers.  Sound engineers should practice at home, not during the show.  The pan men and women are professionals and therefore the sound reinforcement should be equally professional as they are.  Do any of these guys actually own a pan CD?  Just joking.  Not!
PS: – at least the DJ part of the sound system sounded good…

None!!! Can someone spell press release???

The Bands
Behaved and performed like champions.  They are young, gifted and experienced.  They are Bradley’s children who have grown up.  Their talent, hunger to excel and humility makes them a favorite to do it again.  This panorama they took the judging out of the judge’s hands as champions should do, by providing a KO. They distanced themselves from the rest of their competition.  They controlled the audio output of their performance, by taking it out of the sound engineers’ hands, through the sheer power of their execution.  They are clicking on all cylinders – great management, great leadership, great arranger, great tuner and great players.  They even had a color yearbook.  Definitely a first.  Not to be overlooked, the YAMAHA banner on their percussion float attested to the global recognition of the band’s musical excellence.

The judges had them in first place until Pantonic performed in position number twelve.  Expect them to be back, and come out swinging next year.  The band looked real cool in their white custom-made CASYM jumpsuits.

Radoes showed that they are contenders.  No pretenders here.  Look for them to come strong next year.  Nice float and outfits.

Nice conceptual presentation.  Look for Pelham Goddard and this crew to regroup and make another showing next year.

It was good to see Ken ‘Professor’ Philmore back on the scene.  It’s crowded at the top now, but expect Sonatas to rebound.  They remain one of New York’s steelband powerhouses.  The great tone of their pans is a tribute to their tuner Betrand ‘Birch’ Kellman.

A veteran crew, they will regroup.  They will be back.

These young people continue to improve. Their performance showed much promise. They looked and sounded good. They have great management that the kids love.  They are a ‘young Pantonic’.  Look for them to join the upper echelons permanently.

For a band that has participated in Panorama for only the third year running, they continue to show promise and exhibit staying power.

A strange year and a trying season for the veteran Moods management team. They continue in their efforts to keep a New York original [steelband] alive.  Look for them, too, to rebound.

Much improved.

They played at the most difficult position in a panorama: number one.  A spirited and commendable performance, great presentation, topped off by the surprise appearance of reigning Trinidad & Tobago Calypso Monarch, Singing Sandra whose ‘Ancient Riddems’ CYP chose as its selection.

Did well despite the difficulties experienced during the season. This is only their sophomore year. The jury’s not yet back on this one.  Entertaining performance.

In spite of having to practice in new conditions, they made it to another panorama.

Overcame a difficult start. New arranger this year, who got a personal introduction to the New York steelband world via the only all-woman steelband on the New York pan scene.  Look for the group to come up with a new strategy.

Extremely difficult year.  Their efforts to find an outdoor practice area took its toll on the young players.  Their placing in the competition does not reflect the band’s talent, or that of their arranger.  Sesame Flyers organization should begin work immediately in order not to have a recurrence of practice space/pan yard tribulations as experienced in 2003.  They enjoyed themselves on stage, and gave a good performance which did not give away the trials they had been through to reach that point.



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  2003 New York Panorama in Pictures...

  2003 New York Panorama Band Line-up;  Info on Band Captains, Arrangers, Tuners! 


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