Pan-O-Rama Kicks off Festival Season on STJ
Seven bands performed Saturday in the Franklin Powell Park in the 2019 Pan-O-Rama, the kickoff event of the St. John Festival.
Residents and visitors of St. John had the opportunity to enjoy the talent of the Bertha C. Boschulte Burning Blazers, the St. Thomas Allstars Steel Orchestra, the Ulla F. Muller Panatics, the Love City Pan Dragons, the Rising Stars Youth Steel Orchestras of St. Thomas and St. Croix, and Pan in Motion.
Pan-O-Rama featured the first performance on St. John for the St. Croix Rising Stars Youth Steel Orchestra, and also gave attendees the opportunity to meet the five young women and one young man that make up the 2019 St. John Festival Royalty.
Senator at Large Steven Payne Sr. served as the master of ceremonies. Several of the groups who performed are long time participants of St. John’s Pan-O-Rama.
“As long as there is a Pan-O-Rama and we have able bodies, we will be here,” said Gerda D. Sebastien, president of the St. Thomas Allstars Steel Orchestra. ”Some people are forgetting steel pan. You should always keep steel pan in your repertoire because once you have the basics you can always fall back in.”
The St. Thomas Allstars Steel Orchestra has been in existence since 1992 and has had multiple members leave and return throughout its 27 years.
The Ulla F. Muller Panatics will celebrate their 20th anniversary this September. Its members range from ages 7-11, and many of them stay with the band for about four years. The band depends on fundraising for all expenses, including any major travel plans they have in the works.
“We like to have the band travel even though it is an expensive endeavor,” said coordinator Francis Wenner. In regards to Pan-O-Rama she said, “I hope that all the kids have fun today and that people come out to see their talent.”
By Raven Phillips