PAN to present ‘Tributes to the Greats’ at ‘Snowflakes on Steel’

Wendy Jones, Al Foster and Earl LaPierre

By Lincoln DePradine

As a musical concert, “Snowflakes on Steel’’ has earned a reputation as one of the best of its kind in Canada.

And Wendy Jones, one of the chief organizers of the concert, says  pan aficionados can expect another first class show at Snowflakes 2019 on Saturday, January 26.

“It’s going to be a great night,’’ Jones told The Caribbean Camera.

The 22nd annual concert, titled “Tribute to the Greats’’, is being presented by the Pan Arts Network (PAN).  The “Greats’’ refer to recently departed musicians such as pannist Ken “Professor’’ Philmore, calypsonians Shadow and De Fosto, and American soul singer Aretha Franklin.

Snowflakes will be held at the Chinese Cultural Centre in the 650-seat P.C. Ho Theatre, 5183 Sheppard Avenue East, Scarborough.

“The steelbands are all rehearsing, finishing their songs,’’ said Jones, a leader of PAN and captain of panorama champions, Pan Fantasy, which will be performing at Snowflakes.

Tickets to the event, which are $35 in advance, are “practically sold out’’, Jones said.

In addition to Pan Fantasy, concert-goers also will get to enjoy renditions from AfroPan Steelband, Gemini Pan Groove, Panatics Steelband Network, Worship in Steel and Souls of Steel.

A plan, to bring venerable calypso veteran Mighty Sparrow to Toronto to perform at the concert, “is still up in the air’’, Jones said. His coming will be determined on his health condition and whether Sparrow – the 83-year-old “Calypso King of the World’’ – is able to travel on the weekend of the concert, she explained.

“We hope that he will be able to make it. But even if he doesn’t, the show will still go on,’’ said Jones.

Several awards will be presented to outstanding pannists at Snowflakes 2019.

Tony Pierre and Ivor Picou will be the recipients of awards in the category of “Pan Pioneers’’ and A Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Roland Harrigan, who has contributed to pan both as a player and tuner.

Bruce Skerritt  will be presented with a Community Lifetime Award and Malaika Gonzalez and Barbara Toney will both receive “Women in Pan’’ awards.