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Sonatas takes New York Crown
for 2007 Steelband Panorama

New York Pan Kicking Strong

When Steel Talks

New York - The mighty Sonatas took the coveted title as "Panorama Champions" of New York for 2007.  With an overwhelming and memorable performance, Sonatas beat the defending champions, CASYM by a convincing score of 451 to 430 respectively.  Their tune of choice was Pan Lamentation by DeFosto.  It was a blowout.

This was a very good panorama.  New York pan is alive and vibrant.  All the bands played well and looked great.  Of the eleven participating bands, their numbers in terms of players were either at the 100-player limit, or - larger than they were last year, with two exceptions.  This speaks volumes for the state of pan in New York.

Sonatas on stage

Yohan Popwell, Sonatas' arranger, led the 100-player orchestra through a choreographed performance that captured the fancy of the thousands of steelpan enthusiasts attending this year's event.  They received a rousing ovation at the conclusion of their ten-minute performance.  Yohan Powell is one of the leading emerging steelband arrangers today.

Sonatas was considered the favorite by many pan aficionados who had visited the New York steelband practices in the past weeks.  Many felt that in addition to their outstanding talent, their superior discipline and overall commitment to detail would put them over the top. The only question remained to be answered was - could they take it to the stage?  They answered that question with a resounding 'yes.'  Sonatas simply wanted more, and out-worked their other opponents.

Sonatas' superior instrument tonal quality, precision execution and arrangement proved to be much too strong for the other bands to overcome this year.  Steelpan tuning master, Birch Kellman was, as always, responsible for the advanced tonal quality of Sonatas' instruments.  Without a doubt, tonal quality was an important component this year as the bands were able to be heard clearly through the sound system, without the chronic distortion that normally plagued the event.  Steelpan audio specialist Basement Recordings were brought in this year to bring some sanity to the live sound situation.

CASYM on stage

CASYM, the defending champion who also took the stage with 100 players - put together a crowd-captivating performance but still fell 21 points behind Sonatas in the eyes and ears of the judges.  Their tune was Sharing Licks by Len 'Boogsie' Sharpe and arranged by Arddin Herbert, another young top arranger.  Their pans were tuned by Andy 'Mad Max' Neils.  CASYM's performance from position one could not withstand the onslaught that was to be delivered by Sonatas in the 8th position.  CASYM set the initial bar with 430 points.

Pantonic on stage

The Pantonic Steel Orchestra juggernaut could do no better than tie for third place with a score of 416 points.  Their tune of choice was Amrit Samaroo's Band From Space and arranged by the emerging Keith Roberts.  Pantonic also took the stage with their normal compliment of 100 players.  The band delivered a great arrangement that resounded well with the audience.  Although Pantonic put on their expected authoritative, high energy performance that sounded more powerful than any other band, on this night they lacked the precision and cleanness that they are traditionally known for.  Their pans were tuned by Roland Harrigin.

Andre White leads ADLIB on stage

ADLIB Steel Orchestra had to be the surprise of the night.  The Long Island-based music organization tied with Pantonic for third place.  They put on an awesome performance that captured the imagination of the audience.  Led by seventeen year-old arranger Andre White, their tune of choice was also Band From Space.  The 70-plus orchestra worked the audience to their feet.  They received one of the loudest and more sustained rounds of applause after their performance.  Andre's arrangement was competent, skillful, bold and daring for a young arranger in the midst of establishing himself.  The future looks very bright for ADLIB and Andre.  ADLIB clearly sent the message that they have arrived.

This year's first prize according to the promoters, is $20,000 USD.

click here to view pictures

New York 2007 Steelband Music Panorama Results
  1. 451 - Sonatas
  2. 430 - CASYM
  3. 416 - ADLIB
  4. 416 - Pantonic
  5. 413 - Sesame Flyers
  6. 407 - Harmony
  7. 406 - D'Radoes
  8. 404 - Crossfire
  9. 394 - Dem Stars
  10. 383 - Despers USA
  11. 253 - Marsicans

Click here for detailed New York Panorama results

click for complete summary of New York Steelband Season

For more on steelpan music in New York click >>

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