Panstock: Good Vibes, Great Music

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Courtesy Photo

This photo shows off all the band kids at their performance in Panstock, Ohio.

Korah Honig , Writer

It has been a busy week for steel band members with the St. Louis Festival of Steel, the Hastings Jazz Festival, and Panstock. 

The jazz and steel bands went down to Hastings Thursday for the 18th Annual TAC Jazz Festival. It was a fun and exciting day, especially for the jazz band members. They played three songs for a panel of commenters and an audience, and then had a clinic. The clinic was with a musician who helped the band with their improvisation in the song “Cissy Strut.” The band had a great time jamming out. “I really enjoyed our clinic with Tyson Haynes. He reinvigorated my love for Jazz. I have always hated solos and never particularly enjoyed music, however this year has just really been changed in so many ways and Mr. Haynes was the catalyst in my relationship with music. I can’t wait till he comes in to work with us later this year onMake Me Smile.’  ”
The next day was an early start when club and class steel band members met at the school at 6:30 a.m. to depart for their six hour road trip. They had a pit stop at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Students had a great time exploring the history of music and seeing iconic rock and roll relics. “I had an absolute blast!” said Maria Puga-Trevino. Afterwards, they left for New Philadelphia. 

The New Philadelphia band, also known as New Phila Steel, hosted their 13th ever Panstock concert this year, where  nearly 100 performers were joined by international pan player Tracy Thorten, and composer Tyler Swick, for two shows. Each show was accompanied by the New Philadelphia middle school band, the St. Louis club and steel bands, the New Phila high school band, and then a mass band with all of them combined. 

Mass band is a really special thing for these students. It’s not often they get to meet so many peers who share the same interest in music and also be able to play with them. For most steel festivals, the directors choose a few songs for their bands to learn. They then come together the day of to practice as a whole. Senior sixth year steel band member Abby Francisco commented, “It’s fun to be able to experience being in a bigger band than what we’re used to. Meeting the new people and playing the fun music with them was pretty great. Making new friendships with total strangers who share the same love of steel drum and music is pretty amazing.”

The festival was a blast, and the energy and fun from the New Phila band definitely made an impact on the Sharks. Phila’s band has coordinated dances in their songs: from sliding back and forth, spinning, jumping, to switching pans, and waving their hair around. Kira Rossi, a student and band member at New Philadelphia Highschool, commented on the day, “Playing with another band in general is always really cool, but playing with another steel band, especially one with similar energy to ours was incredible. It was amazing to be able to share an experience with a group of people that clearly have as much of a passion for the instrument that we do. It’s really hard to pick a favorite part of the weekend since all of it was so much fun, but  I loved meeting new people with similar interests, and I definitely loved performing. Performances are always borderline euphoric for me.” 

 The St. Louis kids definitely stepped up to the occasion and cut the rug. Especially Peyton Allen, who danced the night away. She commented, “The festival was super fun. I usually don’t really dance when I play, but the other schools and community there were having so much fun and I felt comfortable enough to boogie. It was such a blast performing and I’m so glad I joined the steel band!”  Such a night like that was a huge impact for the steel bands. “The concert was amazing. It reinvigorated my love for music,” Aaron Bowerman  said. 

The night ended with endless applause and teary goodbyes as the St. Louis band had to pack up to leave in the morning. Great music and lasting bonds were made. Tory Patterson commented, “It was a lot of fun. It was great playing with the other schools and getting to know them. I think “Come Out and Play” was super fun because we all danced together and the energy was off the charts.”

After a trip like this one, Mr. Lawhorne is excited to start planning for more in the future.