Seven steel bands took part Saturday in the 2018 St. John Festival Pan O Rama.
Audiences heard music performed by the Bertha C. Boschulte Burning Blazers, St. Thomas All Stars Steel Orchestra, Love City Pan Dragons, Pan in Motion, Ulla Muller Panatics, Rising Stars Steel Orchestra, and the Joseph Sibilly Sun Rays.
Pan O Rama also served as the venue for a formal introduction of the 2018 St. John Festival Royalty to the community. The St. John Festival Pageant Committee held a smaller event to introduce the young ladies on May 20.
The event opened with “America the Beautiful” and “The Virgin Islands March,” performed by the BCB Burning Blazers. The group also returned to perform other songs.
Each band’s introduction included its history and its recent developments.
Pan in Motion had established Panyard People Inc. through the Division of Corporations and Trademarks in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, making them not only a cultural entity within the territory, but also a legal one.
The Love City Pan Dragons made sure to use the event to conduct some fundraising. Shirts adorned with the phrase “Support your local steel band” were on sale. September’s hurricanes damaged their practice space, but once the damage had been assessed they wereright back at it, resuming practice three weeks after Hurricane Maria made landfall.
Other bands lost their original practice spaces entirely. The panroom of Ulla Muller Panatics had to be condemned and the group practices in the school’s cafeteria.
During a break between performances Jeminie Niles, the 2017 Miss St. John Festival queen, came forward to introduce the contestants in this year’s pageant. One joint pageant will be held for the titles of 2018 Miss St. John Festival Queen and 2018 Miss St. John Festival Princess on June 16.
Each contestant gave a short speech introducing themselves to the community congratulating the groups participating in Pan O Rama.
Performances that afternoon were enhanced by the presence of Yisrael Petersen, a Mocko Jumbie who often greets cruise ship passengers entering St. Thomas, and also makes appearances at cultural events.
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