Giving music for Christmas

After having had a successful Christmas season at the Philip Sherlock Centre in 2009, UWI Panoridim decided to take the music to streets for 2010. Three venues were treated to free musical performances by the orchestra. On -- , the Orchestra drew a medium sized crowd in the Portmore Amphitheatre while others swayed to carols on the steelpan while carrying out their Christmas shopping. There was only standing room left however at Emancipation Park on -- when the Orchestra played to a full-sized gathering in the public space.

The final show saw the Orchestra going full circle back on the UWI Mona Campus, where, in conjunction with the Office of the Principal, a musical treat was prepared for staff and students. The entire event was free to the public and was sponsored by ICWI Limited.

PANFEST 2010 - Proceeds To Benefit Chest Hospital

Garfene Grandison, Gleaner Writer

THE UNIVERSITY of the West Indies Panoridim Steel Orchestra hosted its 2010 Panfest gala performance at the Philip Sherlock Centre, titled 'The Magic Drum'. Scheduled to run from July 2-4, the theatre was not packed to capacity at the beginning of the performance, which promptly started at 8 p.m. The audience members who showed up on time were welcomed by Tanny Shirley, chairman of the South east Regional Health Authority, who applauded the efforts of the Chest Hospital to treat diseases like pneumonia, asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

Shirley reported that the proceeds from Panfest 2010 would be donated to the National Chest Hospital in an effort to refurbish its intermediate care ward for patients who had extensive surgery and would need greater care and supervision.

Terry Baker, acting senior medical officer at the hospital, gave a brief speech, ending with a quote from Shakespeare.

"If music be the food of love, play on," she said. The curtains opened and the performance began.

The first piece of the night was a soothing, mellow number - just right for an unsettled audience. The second performance, Mas Que Nada, was very different. A Latin mix, the band members were a lot more engaged with the performance as they danced with genuine smiles on their faces.

Noticeably, there was an overwhelming use of the drums during this performance piece. Rookumbine Rondo, a Jamaican folk piece, was played with an uptempo beat, that excited the audience. The song was followed by a special magical surprise perfor-mance by guest panist, Liam Teague.

Teague's first performance was too long, though he displayed much skill with the pan.

Disappointing performance

"The exit was the best part of that presentation," one patron mumbled. The other performances that followed in the first act were Perhaps Love, a love ballad; Violin Concerto in A Minor; Spickle; We All Are One and the two most entertaining of all, a disco-inspired rendition of It's Raining Men and Owl City's Firefly. The best act of the night, complete with theatrics, was It's Raining Men. The sound effects, props and the use of lighting were superb additions to the upbeat energy of the classic hit.

Following a 15-minute intermission, the show's second act had performances of songs such as Pata Pata, Over The Rainbow, Never Change, Chant, and a few others. Teague treated the audience to a second performance that was much better than his initial set. Loud cheers and applause echoed throughout the Philip Sherlock venue when he finished. The pace at which his hands moved and the effortlessness of the motions made it obvious why he was known as the 'Panginini of the Pan'.

At the end of the performance, each section played the separate instruments, showcasing the different sounds each provided. Blended, the sections made one complete and unique melody. When the lights returned, the venue was full.

(Read more: Jamaica Gleaner)

Panoridim Plays for Rex Nettleford

Photo: Ralston Milton 'Rex' Nettleford
Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer

Some time after, 'Rex N: A Celebration', had begun last Thursday evening in the Oriental Gardens, University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Principal Gordon Shirley set the context for the university's marking of Rex Nettleford's passage through life.

Shirley said that Nettleford would be celebrated through the spoken word, music, theatre and dance, the late professor's great loves.

Anything more than a cursory examination of Nettleford's life is bound to be long and Thursday's comprehensive celebration was duly so. So the performances served a dual purpose, injecting entertainment between the many tributes - themselves engaging insights into Nettleford's multi-faceted life - as well as allowing performing groups (many of which he was personally involved in) to pay him homage. Professor Mervyn Morris, himself an outstanding poet, was the evening's narrator, while images of Nettleford from various stages of his life were shown on big screen.

Appropriately, then, after the UWI Panoridim Steel Orchestra's musical ushering of those who came to celebrate Nettleford - a substantial number, but still far fewer than seating was provided for - an ensemble from the hall named in his honour was the first to give their respect in an arrangement of Hero.

The Jamaica Folk Singers were upbeat with tambo songs, and Nettleford's lifelong connection with the arts was underscored by Brian Johnson's performance of Bassiano's Speech from The Merchant of Venice . Nettleford had played that role in the first secondary schools' drama festival.

(Read more: Jamaica Gleaner)