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HomeNewsLocal newsPhoto Focus: The Sounds of Sweet Pan Music for Carnival 2024

Photo Focus: The Sounds of Sweet Pan Music for Carnival 2024

The official opening of the 2024 St. Thomas Carnival Village is set to take place Monday night, but the weekend before provided lots of family fun and entertainment inside the Village gates. Sunday afternoon’s Pan-O-Rama event drew hundreds of spectators to hear performances by mostly young musicians playing steel band tunes.

Qian Harrigan-Thomas can’t hide his Mellow Hawks pride. (Source photo by Judi Shimel)

Musical youth groups included Love City Pan Dragons, Ulla Muller Panatics, Charlotte Amalie High School Mellow Hawks, St. Thomas Junior All Stars, and the Bertha C. Boschulte Burning Blazers. The Rising Stars Youth Steel Orchestra mounted their double-decker trolley to fill the air with music.

Twilight and swirling lights surround the St. Thomas Junior All Stars in Carnival Village. (Source photo by Judi Shimel)

Veteran pannists from Yard Vybes and Pan Around the Neck brought adult performers out to play.

Proud parents and grandparents armed with cell phones made up the papa-razzi. Families, the elderly and visitors brought sling chairs and settled in comfortably. In the background, the neon lights of whirling amusement rides invited young musicians to join the fun when their work was done.

Crowds of music fans surround the Bertha C. Boschulte Burning Blazers. (Source photo by Judi Shimel)

One parent chaperone and performer with the Pan Dragons described the efforts made by children wanting to do their best at public events like Carnival. “We had to put in extra-school activities (sic) and practice on days of the week and on weekends. Some of them had to give up sports practice and really dedicate themselves,” said Julia Joseph-Lindo.

Over the years the annual steel-pan showcase has played in different venues. For years they performed at the Lionel Roberts Stadium in Hospital Ground. In later years organizers positioned the bands along Veterans Drive, across the road from the site of the Carnival boat races. This year, festivities took place in the Village.

Ulla Muller Panatics perform in front of the stage at Carnival Village on Sunday. (Source photo by Judi Shimel)

“It’s the first time I’ve seen it in the Village,” said Bernice George, a visitor from New York. “I come every year. I think it’s very spacious so I like it.”

Longtime pageant organizer Kevin Rodriguez, standing in the crowd, said he enjoyed the scene.

“I think it’s great. What I like about it is that it’s well coordinated; one band stops and the next band gets started. It’s amazing to see how many of our students are involved in this,” Rodriguez said.

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