Absolutely ‘Pan’tastic

Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 17, 2013 (SKNIS): There was music in the air for most of the day on Thursday September 12 as the sun rose in Basseterre to the sounds of “Pan in The Square.”

Independence Square came alive for the ‘umpteenth’ time this week as the Ministry of Culture showcased an array of young and old talent through the playing of pan. Patrons and passersby tuned into the rhythmic vibes emitted from centre stage at ground zero of the Ministry’s National Arts Festival.

One group in the sunshine that day was the Nevis Pan Ensemble. The band, comprised of a vibrant mix of primary and secondary school students, are the ‘cream of the crop’ in pan from the Scherzando School of Music in Nevis. Led by Gingerland Secondary School Music Teacher Rohan Claxton, the group belted out a combination of fast and slow rhythms, to the enjoyment of all present.

Speaking to the St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service (SKNIS), band leader Claxton saw it a privilege for his group to be able to travel to St. Kitts and receive this well needed exposure. He hoped that this visit would serve to encourage other youths in St. Kitts and Nevis to immerse themselves into learning about this wonderful piece of instrument and its importance to Caribbean culture.

Also on hand were steel pan legends Mellie Hewlett, Val Morris and former Government Minister Rupert Herbert, who shared their personal experiences with the well loved instrument. Former Minister Herbert described the steel pan as one of the most versatile instruments he had ever experienced. He said he had been playing pan for over sixty (60) years.

The afternoon’s segment saw power packed performances by the Cayon High School Steel Orchestra, who too, were also very honoured to be a part of the festival and this year’s Independence anniversary celebrations.

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