Date: 9.17.02

And the Winner Is...





    BROOKLYN, Sept. 17— The Pantonic Steel Orchestra again ran away with the crown, as thousands packed the Thomas Jeffersen Athletic Field on Saturday 31 August 2002 for the United States Steelband Association’s (U.S.S.A.) second annual Pan-O-Rama competition.


    Most attendees were either wearing jackets, or wrapped tightly in blankets to ward off the night chill.  The cold, combined with the $20 dollar tickets were a minor expense in exchange for the sweet and scintillating sounds of steel pan music, or so they thought.


    The event, which was jointly sponsored by the Immigrant's Journal Legal & Educational Fund, Inc. (TIJLEF) and the U.S.S.A. was slated to feature nine bands, although one failed to  show  up (the Branches Steel Orchestra out of Boston).                   


     The Marsicans Steel Orchestra, which was supposed to perform first, was still waiting for the bass racks containing their pans to be delivered two hours after the event’s advertised 8 p.m. start.


    Adlib Steel Orchestra's hitting the stage first, staved off a potentially restless crowd although they were listed as the second band to perform.                         


    After the Dem Stars Steel Orchestra refused to play third, in place of the Caribbean Youth Panoramics Steel Orchestra––who were also waiting on their equipment––the Pan Sonatas Steel Orchestra—one of the favorites to finish first place in the contest—soon appeared on stage.  By the accounts of some members of the audience, the Sonatas gave a good effort.


    They were in turn followed by last year's defending champions the Pantonics Steel Orchestra, who dedicated their performance to one of the band's Bass players, Roger, who was in killed in a vehicular accident.


     Though many people on hand were displeased with the organization of the show, they said that it takes time to get one of its magnitude off the ground.  "They should be more organized than this, but then again, this is their second year," said Neil Grant, 33, of East Flatbush, Brooklyn.


    Most said that it was still the best Pan-O-Rama in town.  They reasoned that the steelbands had outgrown the West Indian American Day Carnival Association’s (WIADCA) venue for it's Pan-O-Rama behind the Brooklyn Museum.  They see the U.S.S.A. as an organization where steelbands at least have a future for growth and development. 


    "This is something that should have been done a long time ago," said Ronnie Barkley, 38, a former member of the Despers U.S.A. steelband who was on hand. "This is my first year here, so I really wanted to see what’s going on".



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Last modified: September 22, 2002