LEWISTON – The Blazing Sun Steel Orchestra, a steel-pan band at Bates College, will host the 15th annual Pan New England Steelband Festival at Bates.

The event will run from 6:30 p.m. to midnight Saturday, April 30, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 1.

The event will feature more than 20 bands from around the region.

At 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Trinidadian musicians Jit and Sonlal Samaroo, prominent figures in the steel band world, will lead workshops in the Gray Athletic Building. At 8 p.m., also in the Gray building, a fete will feature three bands, including the Blazing Sun Orchestra and Blue Hill’s Flash in the Pan Community Steel Band, one of Maine’s premier steel pan bands.

On Sunday, in Bates’ Underhill Ice Arena, more than 20 steel bands from New England will each perform three pieces, including calypsos, classical music and popular tunes.

The Samaroos are known for their work with the bpTT Renegades, a band of 120 pannists, as well as their own family steel band, the Samaroo Jets. Sonlal Samaroo is a percussionist widely known for his mastery of Trinidadian rhythms. Jit Samaroo is one of the foremost experts in composition and arrangement for steel orchestra and has won numerous competitions, including his record nine victories in 16 years in the Panorama steel band contest, the world’s most competitive.

The entire festival is open to the public at no cost. FMI: call (207) 786-6135.


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