Sunday, November 4, 2007

Life: I Am Howard's Son

S0015 - Howard & Kathy 2x3Perhaps even more interesting than being Walter's father, I am my father's son. (I'm my mother's son too - it's just that the similarities are a little further below the surface.)

Dad wrote very funny letter to me for my birthday present - at least, very funny to me. Anyone else might also call it funny - meaning eclectic, obscure and odd, as in 'that's a funny smell'.

Mom and dad stayed over with us last night. Originally they were going to a concert - Autumn Leaves On Steel, 2007.  We did some trading around - I went with dad, and mom spent the evening with Kath. They went out for dinner and talked (with My Big Fat Greek Wedding on in the background). I was treated to a great show - far and away the best pan I have ever heard or seen.

The format is different from the traditional steelpan performance; instead of a steelband or a few pan playing calypso or such, a set of pannists performed with a jazz ensemble - Bruce Skerritt and the Liamuiga Project. Here's the rundown:

  • Danielle Ng-Chee: 14, good lead pan performance. Played the theme from Phantom of the Opera. Student of...
  • Winston 'Pappy' Fredricks. Old time performer, played enthusiastically* on double seconds. Good Trini music.
  • Al 'Allos' Foster was actually one of my dad's students way back when in Etobicoke. Very nice guy, and a very good performer. When he finished his set with the band, I said, "I didn't know his hands could move that fast!" Al has been teaching Panache this year.
    • Plug: I performed on our CD, Simply Panache (scroll down to May 22, 2007). The money from sales goes to fund educational programs in Trinidad.
  • Talib Robinson started with a very fast classical piece. I'd estimate he was hitting the pan eight times a second for the entire song, which lasted several minutes. Spectacular! He's played with the Chicago Sinfonietta at the Orchestra Hall. Oh - he played some very nice jazz too. Talib is very good - I'd describe him as a solid professional performer.
  • Kenneth Headly came on after the break, and was even more spectacular than Talib. He was faster and had even more command of the instrument. If they were playing violins, I'd have Talib in the orchestra, but Kenneth could be the first violin. Very impressive.
  • Duvonne Stewart is a big boy. He sauntered out to his pan and put on a spectacular show. He displayed a level of virtuosity and showmanship on the pan that I have never seen: he played notes by reaching under; he sang while he played; he was faster - somehow! - than the rest; he is a virtuoso.

Amazing. I'm glad I traded with mom (not that (feeling the hole getting deeper) I don't value an evening with Kath (trouble coming) but it was something the boys enjoyed more than our ladies would).

(Whew!)

___

*And well - that's not a euphemism!

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