Extra, Extra - New York Steelpan Music Cures Grinch - 2014 - Reboot

Extra, Extra - New York Steelpan Music Cures Grinch

USSA’s Pan For Christmas At Prospect Heights High School Is the Cure

Steelpan Grinch

Brooklyn, USA - There was indeed a Grinch sighting -  armed and ready he was to steal Christmas. And, yes, he entered the arena all huffy, puffy and yucky, but he never saw what hit him. Sitting up in the balcony by himself - from the first note of New York Pan Stars he was in trouble. As they dropped “Ah Feelin” his feet started to dance in time without his consent. And by end of ADLIB’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” Mr. Grinch was actually clapping hands and giving an awkward wave. CASYM then dropped a musical smart bomb on him that went straight to his heart. Yep, old Mr. Grinch, although be it slightly out of key - that grumpy old voice -  began singing along  with their version of  “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.” Poor Mr. Grinch, by the time CrossFire laid down “This Christmas,” the visibly emotionally wretched character was done and now engaged in a full wine and jump-up. By the end of the show, Mr. Grinch, now completely intoxicated with the spirit of Pan and Christmas was yelling that he was a changed man and was heading to out hook up with Santa Claus. Furthermore, he was coming back next year to play with a New York band for Panorama as he screamed “Damm - y’all good!”

Steelband music arranger Tristan Japsi with fellow musician perform with ADBLID Steel Orchestra

As you well now know, last weekend the USSA (United States Steelband Association) presented Pan For Christmas featuring performances by four steel orchestras -  CASYM, ADLIB, CrossFire. The event took place at Prospect Heights High School and featured the music arranging talents of four outstanding young New York based steelpan music arrangers - Kendall Williams (CrossFire), Jahlani Roberts & Lance Maximin (CASYM), Tristan Japsi (ADLIB) and Marc Brooks (New York Pan Stars).

The performances were excellent and again demonstrated why New York steel orchestras continue to hold the mantel as the best in North America. From traditional Parang to Christmas holiday classics these young arrangers presented to the audience the classics with their own personal twists. And as is the expectation and tradition, the standards for great Christmas steelband performances is extremely high in New York, and were set long ago.

Who can forget the 1995 Carols and Classics in Steel holiday music concert at the Manhattan Center in New York, or the 2001 Reflections in Steel at Brooklyn College’s Walt Whitman Theatre? There have been a host of other great holiday shows filled to the brim throughout New York since the 60s, 70s and 80s at the great performance halls of the city. And these current groups of New York performers at last weekend’s Christmas concert did not disappoint.

USSA is to be commended on hosting this event. The only disappointment was the low turnout to such a spacious auditorium. The organizers did a great job in putting on the show, but in terms of meeting the challenges of putting on a holiday show on the Saturday evening before Christmas in New York - that initiative takes on special consideration. Historically,  the Friday and/or Sunday before Christmas are much better days. And even earlier in the month, has proven more advantageous to attracting a large crowd to steelband music concerts in New York.

In any regard there many other types of entertainment and happenings competing for people’s attention in and around the Big Apple - from the Rockettes in Radio City to Santa Clause to simply Christmas shopping. Moreover these are very different times that call for the organizers to jettison their outdated and antiquated means of bringing the product to the audience. Today’s audience is an on-demand, all access anywhere, anytime group. And such the delivery system must take advantage of the available technologies that have become the norm.

We look forward to the organizers taking full advantage of the such technologies going forward to maximize the full potential of a global audience. As we have said before - the product is ready for prime time...

Now if only those biting insects from NY Panorama officials were present to get some of the Grinch’s cure. Nah, it wouldn’t have worked -- Ha Ha Ha, Ho, Ho, Ho...

Program Notes

    NY Pan Stars
    arranger (Marc Brooks)
    Ah Feelin’
    Christmas Carol Medley
    In De Minor
    2014 Soca Medley
    Parang Soca Medley

    arranger (Tristan Japsi)

    El Diablo Suelto (Castillian) - Daisy Voisin
    All I want for Christmas is You - Mariah Carey
    Caminante - Baron
    Yvonne/Annunciation - Crazy/ Marionettes Chorale
    Ah Feeling - Lead Pipe and Saddis

    Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (Jahlani Roberts)
    Love Never Felt So Good (Jahlani Roberts)
    Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Lance Maximin)
    Black Cake and Sorrel (Jahlani Roberts)
    Big People Party (Duvone Stewart)

    arranger (Kendall Williams)

    This Christmas
    Sereno Sereno
    Hallelujah Chorus
    Paint Brush/Homemade Wine


About the Artists

Jelani Noel
 Urbi Tucker
Tristan Japsi
Cassie Gangaram
Terrell Platano St. John

Christian Melhado
David Pierre
Double Guitars
Ashley Ranford
Crystal Jackson

Four Pans
Nicole Turner
Brittany Seymour

Nicole Turner
Christan Benthon
Kai Nelson

Ian Japsi - Drums
Dashawn “Bam” Wallace
Mark Gangaram

ADLIB Steel Orchestra was founded in 1989 by a group of Trinidadians who wanted to preserve their culture in the United States. It was incorporated in New York in 1995 as the ADLIB Youth and Cultural Organization, with the emphasis shifted to providing young people the opportunity to learn and perform on the steelpan, as well as exposing them to other aspects of Caribbean culture.

The ADLIB stage side consists of approximately 30 musicians who play with the orchestra year round for both public and private engagements.

The ADLIB Panorama side consists of upwards of 100 musicians who perform for the annual WIADCA Panorama competition during the Labor Day weekend in Brooklyn. In addition to the stage side players, the Panorama side is comprised of former stage side players and other musicians who only play with ADLIB for Panorama. Between 2007 and 2014, ADLIB has had an enviable record at Panorama: The band has placed first three times, second three times and third once.

ADLIB Steel Orchestra
ADLIB on stage

Steel Orchestra:
Giselle Desir
Zeandre Douglas
Sciyahn Koonkoon
Isaiah Daniel
Faith Alexander
Norzika Lewis
Arielle Chase
Khyah Judah
Fayola Bartlett
Keifer Dover
Sakinah Porter
Matthew Best
Nadia Joseph
Alexis Schloss
Warren Webster
Jerry Guy
Kendall Williams
Martin Douglas
Noah Smit
Wilfred Kieal Jr.

Located in the heart of East Flatbush, Brooklyn, CrossFire Steel Orchestra aims to create a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic program to educate young people of Caribbean and Non-Caribbean backgrounds about the steel pan art form. Founded by Martin Douglas in the fall of 1999, Crossfire Steel Orchestra is committed to positively impacting the character of our community’s youth, develop their self-esteem, and pass on the tradition of achievement and success. The ultimate goal of this organization is to create an environment that fosters outstanding citizenship within our community and in turn, the nation.

The Orchestra has performed throughout the Tri-State Area and various parts of the United States, including a standout performance at “The Inauguration of New Bishops” at St. John the Devine Cathedral in Manhattan. They are also consistent participants in New York’s annual West Indian-American Day Carnival, placing 1st in the 2001 carnival’s “Best Playing Band” competition with a winning piece arranged by one of Crossfire’s young members, Sundiata King.

CrossFire Steel Orchestra
CrossFire on stage

Steel Orchestra:
Travis Roberts
Lance Maximin
Isis Danglade
Abiola Fraser
Double Second
Kyle Frederick
Haajar Orta
Isaiah Adams
Siboney Hector
Tyler Cohen
Kurel Mattis
Curtis Lynch
Lakeisha Danglade
Johnathan Williams
Drum Set
Jahlani Roberts

CASYM is the acronym for the Caribbean American Sports and Cultural Youth Movement. Since its inception in 1983 as a non-profit organization, CASYM has provided academic, recreational, social and cultural activities for young people in Crown Heights, Flatbush and East Flatbush sections of Brooklyn.

Through mentoring, tutoring, homework assistance, college preparation and other academic support services, CASYM strives to foster learning, and to enrich the education experience of youth. Its motto: “Education a Must...Drugs a Bust” is evident by the organization providing scholarships for every high school graduate in its program since 1990.

The CASYM Steel Orchestra comprises 90-plus young members between the ages of 7 to 21. It is the most visible and successful aspect of CASYM’s program and has performed throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. This professional orchestra has performed with jazz legend Lionel Hampton, the Harlem Boys choir, the Calypso King of the World -the Mighty Sparrow and calypsonian David Rudder.

Achievements include 1st place championships in the annual Steelband Panorama organized by the West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA) - 2000, 2001, 2006 and 2013, and also 9th place in the 2000 World Steelband festival held in Trinidad and Tobago.

CASYM Steel Orchestra
CASYM on stage

NY Pan Stars
Steel Orchestra:
Sage Harrison
Joel Edouard
Antonio John
Navarre Mason
Alexia Isaac
Averey Debriz
Double Tenor:
Shane McDonald
Selena Antoine
Double Seconds:
Andrew Semple
Sparkle Demming
Double Guitar:
Tamika Small
Tahjet Lewis
Shabana Pierre
Andrea Wilson
Mark Joseph
Kianna Carrington
David Cersier
Brianna McNutt

Noah Smit
Marc Brooks

New York Pan Stars represents one of the latest and youngest of the Brooklyn steel orchestra franchises.

















 New York Pan Stars

 New York Pan Stars on stage

Watch full performances

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