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Pan Is Alive in Toronto

 

On Friday July 29 2016, Lamport Stadium will be alive with the sound of steelband music as 14 steelbands compete in the Pan Alive Competition to decide Ontario’s Champion Steelband. This annual competition produced by Ontario Steelpan Association (OSA) on the Friday night preceding the Caribbean Carnival Parade, began as a non-competitive event at Ontario Place in 1997. It has now become the only community steelband competition in Toronto, and a major artistic component of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival.

 

Each steelband performs an 8 - minute arrangement of a calypso. The verse and chorus of a calypso usually amount to one minute of music, so the arranger has to create the additional 7 minutes. The final results are determined by a panel of 3-5 adjudicators who award points for arrangement (40), performance (40), tone (10) and rhythm (10). This year, the reigning champions, Pan Fantasy Steelband, will be going all out to retain their title.

 

A conventional steelband is comprised of both tuned and un-tuned percussion instruments. The tuned instruments are tenors (really the soprano voice), double tenors, double seconds (alto voice), guitar pans-double or triple (tenor voice), ‘cellos, quadrophonics, tenor basses (baritone voice) and low basses (six, nine or twelve steelpans). The un-tuned percussion, which is referred to as the Engine Room, consists of a drum kit, iron (brake drum), congas, cowbell, scratcher and other percussion instruments.

 

The fourteen competing community steelbands are based in Liberty Village (Toronto), Downtown Toronto, Scarborough, North York, Brampton and Hamilton. They consist of 700 volunteer panists, ages 9 – 70 plus, and 300 non-playing volunteers who provide the necessary infrastructural support for the steelbands’ summer activities. The majority of the panists do not read or write music, so they rehearse 4 hours per evening, 7 days per week for 4-6 weeks in order to learn the arrangement and play it from memory.

For more information, visit our website  ontariosteelpanassociation.com

 

Ontario Steelpan  Association

Suite 808- 2343 Brimley Rd. Scarborough, ON,  M1S 3L6