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The Clive Bradley Memorial Classics and Carols Music Festival at Brooklyn College

This is my review of the Clive Bradley Memorial Classics and Carols Music Festival at Brooklyn College on Saturday, December 8th, 2012. My expectations of the bands were, for the most part, exceeded. I do think the criteria of the event need to be better established in the future, for I think the interpretation of "classical" was loose in some regards and time limits were ignored by some. But overall the musical standard was impressive.I was so happy to see this historic occasion be successful, which encourages a continuing sort of "Pan Is Beautiful" event for the New York steelbands, who collectively continue to prove their worth at panorama. Especially remarkable were the arranging talents displayed by names such as Khuent Rose, Jahlani Roberts, Kendall Williams, and Odie Franklin. The international pan community needs to be aware of what these young musicians brought to the table this past Saturday night - world class, thoughtful, highly sophisticated music. 

The performers and instruments all looked beautiful - great consideration was given to appropriate presentation. On the producers' end, the sound was actually decent, the bands and stage crew were remarkably efficient in moving the bands along, and the pacing of the event was just right despite a few awkward delays in raising the curtain. The addition of emcees between bands was a good call, although our friends need to re-check their pan history a little more... and it was shameful to see, at an event purportedly honoring Clive Bradley, his name repeatedly spelled wrong in the bio in the program. But the production was excellent overall; it really put Panorama to shame. It even blew away the 2005 Festival at Madison Square Garden. The house crew at Brooklyn College and volunteer crew need to be commended for running such a smooth program.

A note to the audience: I think that a standard of decorum befitting a classical concert need to be reminded to patrons. Reason being, that often the subtle nuances of the classical selections were lost by spontaneous shouting and applause. If folks are willing to pay good money for premium seating and come out in their Sunday best to hear "the classics", they ought to be more respectful to the performers and other patrons. That's simply an accepted part of the classical music world, dictated by the sensitive nature of the music itself. I understand the vocal appreciation of music but if pan wants to be taken seriously in this particular musical sphere, the audience has their part to do too.

I won't go into the judging and results because I didn't view this too much from a competition angle - I think that it served the community better as a showcase of the potential of the bands and arrangers. I understand the place of competition; I would argue that it compels bands and arrangers to push themselves. But I will leave that philosophical discussion for another day. I will congratulate Despers USA and Crossfire for topping the field, indeed I congratulate all the bands and arrangers for putting on such an excellent show. I hope that the organizers continue to put it on, and that in the future it gets the coverage that it deserves.

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Thanks Noah,

                       I was not present but my sentiments exactly. Can you call me at (754) 779-7547.


               Ian Franklin 

Unfortunately, I couldn't make the event, but I am glad to hear it was a success. Now for the big question....will there be a DVD recording, so I can get to see and hear the event for myself???

Also, if there is a recording ...will it be produced by WST or some other company?

thanks and congratulations to all the bands and those who planned this event....

a special thanks to the young arrangers, I hope they will continue to get opportunities to arrange for the bands as they will only get better and better.


I saw people videotaping on stage with semi-professional cameras, and the pans were miked, so hopefully a DVD will be forthcoming.

When Steel Talks was not at all present at this event, so if a DVD were to come out I assume it would be produced by the organizers [Global Productions I believe they are called]

Can some one list the respective arrangers for the rest of us lay people (lol)?

ADLIB: Test Piece & My Favorite Things - Andre White

CASYM: Test Piece - Khuent Rose; The Christmas Song - Jahlani Roberts

Crossfire: Test Piece & You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch - Kendall Williams

Despers USA: Test Piece - Odie Franklin; O Holy Night - Pedro (don't know his last name)

East Side: Test Piece - Wilfred Kieal; Adeste Fidelis - Othello Mollineaux

Pantonic: Test Piece & Greensleeves - Keith Roberts

Sonatas: Test Piece - Sade Constantine; This Christmas - Joshua MacPherson

My sentiments are the same with the writer of this piece. It was a wonderful showing of these talented young arrangers, and players, not forgetting the older heads that also did wonderful work. The overall look of the bands was professional and again I commend them on their efforts. That being said a few observations; In such a setting I believe that the panorama system of counting in your band, should be left to panorama compititions. Worst offender of this was CASYM. The loud knocking of the pan was very distracting at the begining of the piece. I believe 2 bands offended in this manner. The late comers should not have been seated during the perfomance of the bands; again this was very distracting and a disrespect to both musicians and patrons.The MC's were for the most part did not have enough knowledge of Pan History. Shame on them. Do your home work next time. Hats off the Douglas Martin of Cross Fire who really got into his band's rendition of the Grinch.

I want to take this opportunity to commend all of the bands taking part in this compitition. We have a wonderful group of young and extreamly talented arrangers in our midst. Let us do all that we can to encourage them to greater heights by our continued support. My 7 year old granddaughter accompanied me as she does to all pan events. (next stop

d Mecca)  It was a fitting tribute to such a talented arranger as Mr. Bradley.

Ms. Belfon

This is for the sake of argument, and not to discredit anybody. But I must ask: if you took issue with bands counting off on the side of the pan as being too panorama, what then do you say concerning the two bands that used calypso rhythm in their classical piece, one of which having performed their entire test piece as a calypso? And I was personally driven to distraction by Dougie's performance and the audience's noisy response to it. I was more interested in actually hearing the nuances of Kendall's (excellent) arrangement, not the shouts and jeers to the on stage antics. How is that worthy of a hats off, while a pre-performance count off (in one case part of the artistic expression of the arrangement itself) is inappropriate and distracting?

Yes I did. I speak for my self. Yes the noisy response of the audience was distracting, as was the inappropriate clapping during the test piece, as well as the seating of patrons while the bands  were playing. All things that I hope can and will change. I have been to Lincoln Center and Carneige Hall where the style of the conductor/s are an integral part of the performance. That being said I will continue to applaude all the young and talented arrangers. The culture that is PAN is in very good hands. Bravo!

Interesting choice of language in calling the count-in "distracting and disrespectful" particularly being the person that enacted the apparent "offence". It occured during the beginning of the song specifically to force the audience to listen intently while also giving retrospect to the fact Bradley was most known for his panorama music. I took the artistic license to see that count and avoided every and any nuisance of calypso thereafter as per the guidelines that were given to me. moreover , in honoring Bradley idiom of using the back of he stick , I performed the latter end of my solo as such. I guess I haven't learned how to "dumb it down" (nor will I tolerate that behavior from any of my students and proteges that may happen to see this post).

I personally thought it in poor taste for people to applaud and scream during the songs which could wholly distract the other spectators while disrespecting the sacredity of the event. Then again, Im young and opinionated.

Hopefully that clarified the choice to do that in case there were others that felt offended. It is interesting that very few pieces seemed at all interested in one of Bradley's core musical tenants of story-telling.

Other than some discrepancies with adjudication I think that the event was per successful and that the bands represented themselves well.Congrats to Despers arranging team. And I have to personally congradulate Jahlani Roberts for a colorful, balanced and progressive take of his arrangement of "Have yourself a merry little Christmas". If I were capable of pride Im sure I would feel it.

Correction "The Christmas Song"

Good job Mr. Rose. I have not listened to all the perfomers as yet, but I am very impressed with your variations.

Thanks to the powers that be for brainstorming this concert. Lets hope that it was video taped for posterity and sale before Christmas.

I just heard the performances.  Congratulations to the 7 American born arrangers.

Special congrats to Kendell Williams and my nephew, Odie Franklin, not forgeting Despers tuner, Clement Franklin, my last brother.


This is a trivia question for the old school Brooklyn panmen. Can you name the men who won a Brooklyn Panorama on their first attempt? x men did it; you have to solve for x. (lol)


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