CASYM Steel Orchestra educates young people on the musical instrument Steelpan

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New York – The main attraction twinkled in the spotlight directed towards the stage. The doors to the theater opened – then the unmistakable familiar sound of energetic voices of children’s chatter and the crackle of hundreds of little feet marching in droves appeared. With shining eyes and bushy tails, they flocked to the Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts on Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus from various schools in the New York City (NYC) public school system. Their amazed “Oohs” and “Aahs” could be heard as they were led to their seats with their eyes fixed on the main attraction of the day – the family of steelpan musical instruments.

Students were brought to the theater as part of the Community Works NYC initiative aimed at bringing diverse people together and providing a rich continuum of artistic and educational experiences that include:

  • Practical workshops in theater, dance, music, literary creation and visual arts.
  • Public art exhibitions that tell the vibrant stories of our local communities through photographs and texts written by children.
  • Performances of music, dance and theater events at several sites in the city.

    The students were treated to very special treatment as a small contingent from the CASYM Steel Orchestra entertained and educated the young students about the culture, history and mechanics of the Steelpan family of instruments. CASYM, coincidentally, is celebrating its 25th anniversary. For more than two decades, this organization has maintained a stellar history of youth development and tutoring on the musical instrument steelpan. In addition to its educational efforts, CASYM is recognized as one of the most successful steel orchestras in the United States.

    The presentation of CASYM included a brief history of the instrument followed by performances by the musicians, and an explanation of the different types of instruments in the steelpan family. The CASYM team were extremely professional and engaging. They clearly captured the attention and imagination of the young people present whose exuberance, fascination and participation in the event were fabulous. The highlight of the show came when students from the audience were invited to the stage to learn a quick song and perform together. The teachers also received a standing ovation from their students when they also took the stage under the direction of CASYM to try to match the performance of the students!

    As the previously packed theater emptied of buzzing and happy students who all looked forward at some point to being able to learn how to play the steelpan instrument properly, the members of CASYM took a quick break as they were on the not to repeat the entire presentation in its entirety – for another crowd of young people, this time at 12 noon.

    Holding the event at the Kumble Theater added another level to its authenticity – as many of these students have never seen the interior of a theater of this caliber. The Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus is a dynamic, state-of-the-art performance venue serving one of the most diverse campuses and communities in the country. It is designed to nurture the artistic exploration and development of students and other emerging artists, while providing the wider community with better access to an exciting range of professional Broadway-quality, classical and cutting-edge performances.

    On this day, CASYM, Community Works NYC and the Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts have more than realized the dedication of Long Island University to awaken, enlighten and expand the minds of its students and the community at large.


    WST

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