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The World

Published on August 5th, 2017 | by The Trinidad Guardian

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NSSO pushing pan Beyond Boundaries

After hearing the National Steel Symphony Orchestra play Ashley by Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, I went to the internet to see if there were any other versions. The four that were available were all very good but none achieved the virtuosity of the NSSO’s version at their tenth anniversary show, Pan on a Higher Note—Beyond Boundaries which took place this past weekend at Napa, Port-of-Spain. According to the programme for Pan on a Higher Note, Ashley was originally scheduled for midway during the second half, but whoever decided to put it at the end of the programme made an inspired choice. There was pure electricity onstage as Duvone Stewart, Natasha Joseph, Kareem Brown, Arthur Peters and Carlon Harewood performed their solos in almost pan shoot-out style, with playfulness, deftness and silkiness that kept the audience thoroughly engaged and excited.

The star of that performance was undoubtedly Duvone Stewart, the highly regarded composer, arranger and pan player from Tobago. Stewart is the only arranger in the history of the National Panorama competition to have won four successive Panorama titles. Stewart plays with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye and he got the audience laughing when he cheekily played a couple of notes from the underside of the pan. The programme for this tenth anniversary concert was well chosen, there was a mix of familiar classics like Orpheus in the Underworld by Offenbach, Man of La Mancha—Dream the Impossible Dream (featuring baritone Krisson Joseph), Porgy and Bess (featuring soprano Shannon Navarro) and original pieces by members of the Symphony.

Those who came to this free—yes, all of this was for free—concert over Saturday and Sunday were lucky to hear the world première of two pieces by NSSO members, Beyond Boundaries by Carlon Harewood and Waltz of the Dame Lorraine, composed by Amrit Samaroo. Beyond Boundaries was composed in one week, and was written to commemorate the NSSO’s tenth anniversary. It is a testament to the wealth of talent in the NSSO, where most of the musicians are locally trained to degree-level in music. One of the missions of the NSSO is to consistently create original music.

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