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Caribbean

Published on April 25th, 2016 | by St Thomas Source

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Steelband Jamboree Enlivens Charlotte Amalie with the Sounds of Carnival

Under a hazy Sunday evening sky, the upbeat rhythms of steelpans filled St. Thomas’s Lionel Roberts Stadium for the annual Carnival Steelband Jamboree. A total of 12 bands, mostly school-based and some clubs, took the stage, delighting the couple hundred audience members with upbeat melodies that seemed made for easy listening. “We put our own spin on the Carnival theme this year: We say ‘Nothing is More Fabulous than a Well-tuned Steelpan for Carnival,” Eduardo Corneiro, master of ceremonies and chairman of the Carnival Steelband Jamboree Committee, said.

Before the bands took the stage for the evening, the audience stood for the national anthem and V.I. March. A recorded invocation from the Rev. Mikie Roberts of the Memorial Moravian Church of St. Thomas was played to the crowd, reminding all to rejoice and celebrate the creation of the steel drum. As the evening’s performances continued, more and more people filled the stadium’s grounds and stands. Proud parents cheered and recorded their children’s troops on their cell phones and cameras while the players pinged their drums.

Angela Hanley said her 8-year daughter, a member of the Ulla Muller Panatics, loves playing the steel drum, which she started learning about five months ago. “It keeps her busy and out of trouble. Plus, it’s another form of education for her, since she gets to use her brain in a different way,” Hanely said. Corneiro said that in the early days of St. Thomas’s Carnival there weren’t any big steel bands. “We learned about the steelpans from Trinidad. They’re the sound of carnival and they don’t require electricity – we take pride in them and want to keep the tradition alive,” Corneiro said. Corneiro explained that many of the island’s bands have few opportunities to perform throughout the year, so the jamboree gives them another chance to play on top of the main Carnival parade. “This is a time for the students to showcase what they’ve been working on all year,” Corneiro said.

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