Read about the 2009 achievements of CultureMix Arts and RASPO Steel Orchestra’s tenth anniversary celebration of performances and events.
2009 was an excellent summer for steel pan music at CultureMix with calendar highlights including the launch of the stage show musical production ‘Pan Fever’ and the recording of RASPO’s first audio CD ‘RASPO Live!’. Both premiered at the prestigious WOMAD Festival at Charlton Park in Wiltshire.
This summer the RASPO Ensemble performed at twenty-two functions and private events with the larger RASPO Steel Orchestra showcasing their talents at an unprecedented ten events including Reading Carnival and the Royal Berkshire County Show. Two three month internships were awarded to tenor players Kisha Lowe and Emma Macedo where they learned hands on business skills.
RASPO perform at WOMAD Festival UK
‘Pan Fever’ toured the Carnival Learning Centre on the Isle of Wight and Reading Concert Hall to celebrate October’s Black History Month with guest artists Slough All Stars and a well received first performance from new orchestra members Anisha, Isobel, Darryl and Lucy. The show features tenor player Tanisha on saxophone and a Bubbles tribute to 20th Century Steelband and calypso grandmaster Lord Kitchener.
Mary attended the Windsor Leadership Course spending a week at Windsor Castle. She also joined Mangrove for second place at the UK Panorama Steelband Championships in Hyde Park. Following an anonymous nomination Mary won the Pride of Reading Cultural Champion award presented to her by Chris Tarrant at the Crowne Plaza ceremony luncheon.
Mary Genis receives Pride of Reading Cultural Award from Chris Tarrant.
Ensemble players and RASPO ambassadors continue to impress with Zash Brazell becoming orchestra captain following Nathifa’s departure to study at Surrey University. New vice captain and recent intern Kisha graces the front cover of nationally distributed Classroom Music magazine for which artistic director Mary wrote an article on ‘How to Set up a Steel Band’.
CultureMix’s music service now has administrative support from recent intern Emma who is training up for the role. Schools in Basingstoke, Farnborough, West Berkshire and Reading benefit from weekly steel pan music classes as part of their curriculum.
Demand is ongoing for instruments, taster workshops, assembly presentations and team building.
Without the support of each and every RASPO player past and present, the tutors and the CultureMix team none of this would be possible.
In 2010 CultureMix and RASPO plan to continue providing quality entertainment, education and development whilst sharing the positive message of steel pan music and carnival arts to schools and audiences across the UK and beyond.