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Pan-tastic! Steel drum bands ready for showdown

Newcomers: Rookie band Pan Evolution made its first-ever appearance at the Steel Band Panorama competition last year and came in second place.
Brooklyn Paper
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It’s the battle of the pans!

Two different Brooklyn bands will vie for the crown at the Steel Band Panorama competition on Sept. 2, part of the weekend of events leading up to the West Indian American Day Parade. The annual musical match-up draws a dozen acts from all over New York and New Jersey to the grounds of the Brooklyn Museum to compete for the title of best steel band, but the reigning champion and its closest competitor both hail from the county of Kings.

Favored front-runner D’Radoes Steel Orchestra, based in Canarsie, has taken the top spot every year since 2014. The popular band is one of biggest ensembles in the competition, but all of its members have stuck around and are diligently working towards a fourth win, said the band’s manager.

“We are intact with the same squad and we’ve been fortunate to be so successful over the last few years,” said Tom Montvel-Cohen. “We are very humble with our hardworking approach.”

The band’s recent victories come from working closely together, but also having a good time, he said.

“Last year we really executed things really well — we were very organized in not only learning the music, but the logistics in getting everyone in the museum, setting up, and everything ran smoothly — it’s really gratifying,” said Montvel-Cohen. “You need good music and good players, but you also need to keep the morale and vibes high to keep the players happy and do what we needs to be done.”

The group’s closest competition comes from rookie band Pan Evolution Steel Orchestra. The Brooklyn team made its first appearance at the competition last year and took second place — an incredible feat for the group, said the chairman of the band.

“We kind of expected to come in fifth place, but coming for our first year and coming in second — it was a great feeling for most of our players and management,” said Matthew Bascombe. “We started in November 2015 and it was not even a full year of the band being in existence, but we have great players and we did a lot of hard work to get there.”

This year, the Pan Evolution members are confident they can grab the gold, he said.

“If we fall short and come in second, we’ll accept that — but our goal is to capture the win,” said Bascombe.

Steel Band Panorama on the grounds of the Brooklyn Museum [200 Eastern Pkwy. at Washington Avenue in Crown Heights, (718) 638–5000, www.wiadcacarnival.org]. Sept. 2 at 7 pm. $50.

Posted 12:00 am, August 28, 2017
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