In De Yard Concert, hosted by the Youlou Pan Movement (YPM), played off last Sunday at the Starlift Steel Orchestra Pan Yard, Old Montrose, to rave reviews.
The virtual concert showcased soloists, duets, trios and quartets from the seven members of the YPM – the South East Steel Orchestra, XS Steel, the Sion Hill Euphonium Steel Orchestra, Epic Steel, LEAF Elite Steel Orchestra, Symphonix Steel Orchestra and the Starlift Steel Orchestra.
The renditions represented a variety of genres, making the event one for all ages and tastes.
Of note on the afternoon programme was a special performance by Kingsley Roberts and well-known pannist and arranger Errol Isaacs who, while unaffiliated to any of the bands, was more than willing to lend his support to the event and showcase his skills.
Kesslon ‘Taffa’ Wilson of the LEAF Elite Steel Orchestra applauded the initiative.
“We believe that the timing of the event was critical … it helped to revive the waning interest in steel pan playing, which has suffered as a result of the ongoing covid-19 pandemic… it provided a more even playing for exploring and recognizing the skills and dexterities of individual players which easily go unnoticed and overshadowed when viewing the large bands at Panorama and other festivals,” Wilson expressed.
“We are excited to acknowledge that the Youlou Pan Movement is willing to look outside its comfort zone of Panorama and become bold and innovative in staging events outside the umbrella of the CDC’s (Carnival Development Corporation) Panorama events,” Wilson added.
Expressing similar sentiments was arranger of the Symphonix Steel Orchestra – Jomoro Francis.
“It was really a good a wonderful event and it showed that pan is still alive in St Vincent and the Grenadines,” Francis said, adding that it was welcomed by his players who have not played on the “outsdie’ for some time.
Holding the In De Yard Concert at the Starlift Pan Yard, he said, was a good choice of venue since it was central.
President of the YPM- Rodney Small assessed last Sunday’s event as having provided “… a roadmap to where we want to go in terms of the industry… .”
He posited that the event was not far from being a change-maker in that, “We don’t think that we push enough individual players in the fraternity, it is always band, band, band and never really gave persons the opportunity to experience pan in a different life than just a big orchestra.”
A pleased Small noted: “It was one of the easiest events for the Executive of the YPM to stage, as there was support from all seven bands… affiliated to the YPM.”