Sonatas Steel Orchestra during their championship
- Now that
the dust has settled and the massive steel orchestras of summer in
the Big Apple have retired for another year, let's take a
closer look at this year's panorama champion, Sonatas Steel
Sonatas is a world-class steel orchestra in addition to being a class act.
The current New York steelband music panorama champions are the
toast of the North American steelband community. Anyone
who doubts the musical capability of this orchestra is in for
a big surprise, or worse - about to get their feelings hurt.
Sonatas did not
simply win the 2007 panorama. They out-worked, out-performed and
distanced themselves from a field of competitors consisting
of some of the best steel orchestras in North America.
Unless the competition wakes up and change their work habits -
Sonatas could be dominating the New York steelband music scene for
some time to come (see
Sonatas celebrating on stage as 2007
New York is an
extremely competitive town for steel orchestras. It's long
history and direct ties to the world's greatest steelband
organizations coupled with the normal New York "take no
prisoners attitude," make for a situation where only the best and
most committed will survive. Sonatas has been around for
over thirty years and for most of those years they have been in
the upper echelons, and also at
the top. In fact Sonatas is a clinical study in panorama
Since 1981 Sonatas have not placed in the top three, in any
panorama competition, only four times. Remarkably, that is four times
in twenty-six panorama entries! Sonatas also has won more
New York panorama championships than anyone else with a
total of eight.
It has long
been established that Sonatas has the best instruments of New
York - maybe North America for that matter. That is
directly attributable to the tuning and manufacturing expertise of
the legendary Mr. Bertrand 'Birch' Kellman, unarguably one of the best
steelpan tuners ever. Sonatas' instruments jump out at you in
a way that no other does. Their clarity and tonal quality
Sonatas Manager Mac Scott
Sonatas is made of
some intelligent, young and very talented musicians who are very,
very dedicated to their craft. In addition they are
surrounded by some very crafty veterans who bring invaluable
and consistency to the mix. As with any successful organization,
everything revolves around management. They are a tight -knit
unit that is used to, and expects, success. This attitude and
directive have been successfully passed on to the players.
The Sonatas' management team of Mac Scott, Selwyn John, captain
Sherwin Edwards and others, have developed a winning system that
produces one of the best steel orchestras in the world.
Yohan Popwell on stage with Sonatas
music of Sonatas is currently under the guidance of the very capable arranger
Yohan Popwell who has established himself as one of the top
young steelband music arrangers anywhere in the world. Mr.
Popwell has created a special rapport with players of Sonatas.
Their performances are energetic, great to watch, sonically
pleasing, musically stimulating and executed with precision and
musical clarity that the New York steel orchestra community has
not experienced in a while.
Look for Sonatas to continue it's winning program.
more about Sonatas go to
Contact Sonatas: voice
panorama selection Pan Lamentation is included on the "Pan in New York
2007" CD, which is available from participating orchestras and also