Yesterday on Nevis Street, the Department of Culture hosted the first block-o-rama to celebrate World Steelpan Day.
Four pan orchestras and a soloist played beautiful melodies, filling the air with excitement. Onlookers smiled and danced, enjoying the wonderful music.
Viola Paris, one of the attendees, described the event as “great” and praised the energy from the players. Many others agreed and said the music was “real sweet.”
The only criticism was the last-minute change of venue from Redcliffe Street, which caused confusion for some people trying to navigate.
Pan players gathered around the venue, eagerly waiting their turn to take the stage and enjoying the atmosphere created by their fellow musicians. Chaya Ryan, a member of the Halcyon Steel Orchestra, spoke about her journey with the steelpan.
She discovered her interest while in the music room at Antigua Girls High School and became hooked after trying it out. Her advice to those interested in learning the instrument is to start off easy and surround themselves with the right individuals.
Despite some last-minute changes in plans, the Director of Culture, Khan Cordice, considers World Steelpan Day 2023 a success and anticipates a bigger and better event next year. He believes that the full force of steelpan will be showcased, and people will better understand its contributions.
The event featured participants such as the CUB Hells Gate Steel Orchestra, Halcyon Steel Orchestra, West Side Symphony Steel Orchestra, Panache Steel Orchestra, and soloist Amarni Gomes. On July 24th, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution designating August 11th of every year as World Steelpan Day.
This initiative aims to raise awareness of the instrument’s cultural and historical significance and its connection to sustainable development.