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Miami Carnival 2022

Miami Carnival Panorama Will Be Epic This Year. Here’s Why!

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Steelpan music lovers are in for a treat this October! All stops have been pulled as the Miami Carnival coordinating committee are hard at work to deliver the best Panorama experience at Miami Carnival on October 7th. The event takes place at Central Broward Regional Park- 3700 NW 11th Place, Lauderhill, FL., from 4 pm-11 pm.

The list of renowned bands competing for prizes and the coveted title of the 2022 Miami Carnival Steelband of the Year includes Metro Steel Orchestra, Lauderhill Steel Ensemble, New Generation Branches Steel Orchestra, Elite Pan Stars Academy, and Melo Groove Steel Orchestra. The steelpan is one of those instruments that brings all cultures together, and unites people no matter race or socio-economic background. For those who may be new to the energy of the steelpan, you must know that this is an instrument that was invented in the 1930s on the Caribbean island of Trinidad. It is the only instrument invented in the 20th Century and holds great historical significance in music. It is appreciated worldwide. 

So back to Miami Carnival! With a rhythm section in the Carnival Village kicking off the vibes for the evening, to the anticipation and excitement of the epic special performances by Newtown Playboys Steel Symphony traveling in from Trinidad Tobago, as well as the Japanese Steelband WaiWai, this year’s Miami Carnival Panorama is a music-inspired family event, not to be missed. The steelpan is well rooted in Caribbean culture. The sight of the instrument makes you believe you are in a tropical paradise, while the sounds of it bring familiar tunes to your mind.

Building Momentum for October

“The momentum is here. We got a lot of positive feedback for Panorama’s return to Broward. Miami Carnival is the place to be in October. I urge anyone who’s going to be around, to catch the best show in North America,” said Steelband Coordinator, Dexter Bleasdel. The Panorama competition is a massive production to assemble and according to Bleasdell, the Miami Broward One Carnival Host Committee plans for this event, approximately one year in advance.

The Miami Carnival Panorama competition works on a point system. Judges give points on the arrangement (40 points), general performance (40 points), tone (10 points), and rhythm (10 points). Whoever has the highest score wins the competition.

“You’re guaranteed to be up on your feet dancing. We developed a formula for a fun and well-arranged performance. It’s going to be alive and filled with energy. Our band performs year-round because we get booked for gigs and events. We are now transitioning from stage-side practices for Panorama. They have been intense but fun. We have a new arranger that came from Trinidad. He’s an amazing young guy and keeps the whole team moving at a lively pace.” said Mary Rodriguez, President of Lauderhill Steel Ensemble.

Children Can Play Too.

The steelpan is an instrument people of all ages can play. The bands in this year’s Panorama have children, adults, and seniors participating in the show. Newcomers to this instrument develop a sense of pride as their skills develop. Child exposure to the steelpan is perfect because they can play this instrument into adulthood and become professionals.

“I have seen children grow into professors and musicians around the globe with the steel drum over the years. Their involvement with this instrument impacts their evolution,” said Bleasdell.

“I see a sense of accomplishment. It’s fun watching the newcomers keep up with us for the first time, or they get through a couple of lines without making a mistake. We have a young girl who is 10 or 11 that performed with us in a parade this month. To see her go from not being too sure to keep up with the rest of the band is amazing,” said Rodriguez.

This past fall, the Miami Broward One Carnival Host Committee expanded its youth arts enrichment program with its inaugural youth pan workshop series. The fun and interactive music workshops introduced children to the steel pan through hands-on instruction and this unique Caribbean instrument’s history and rhythmic versatility. The children also had the chance to learn to play a song using the pan instrument. 

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Trinidadian Art Curator, Donnamarie Baptiste Delivers Well in History-Revealing Art Exhibit in Miami.

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Caribbean people are everywhere, aren’t we? In Miami, a brand new exhibit that is currently on display to the public, at the Miami Museum of Contemporary Art, has been curated by Donnamarie Baptiste, a Trinidad and Tobago national. Baptiste provides arts & culture management consulting to national and international creative clients and is presently based in Miami.

The new project , “Veo, I See I See, Mwen wè Mwen wè,” combines visual art, storytelling, and technology. It celebrates the heroic civil rights work and the bravery of Judge Lawson E.Thomas, encouraging the community to explore the rich history of Historic Overtown. The project is meant to tell unfamiliar stories of individuals and sites significant to Miami’s hidden Black history.

The mural project began at 1021 NW 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL, the office building of the late Judge Lawson E. Thomas. Thomas was Miami-Dade County’s first Black judge, who presided over the only purely racially segregated court system in the United States known as the “Negro Municipal Court.” The mural was created by artist Anthony Reed II, known as “Mojo,” and pays homage to this important place and its history. 

“We are excited to tell some of these little-known stories of individuals and locations significant to Miami’s hidden Black history. In addition, the site-specific murals embedded with unique QR codes engage the public and showcase works of talented Black artists,” said Co-founder of Miami MoCAAD, Marilyn Holifield.

The oral histories share untold stories of the people and places of this proud Black community that thrived before “urban renewal” highways decimated homes and businesses in Overtown and Black communities across the country. By scanning the QR codes, viewers will become immersed in Overtown-related interactive treasure hunt games, an interactive 3-D model of the artist providing biographical information, and an interactive museum experience map that invites engagement to chart the future MiamiMoCAAD. 

The murals and oral histories will become part of Miami MoCAAD’s archive, documenting the museum’s journey to a digital/physical hybrid museum space. This is not the first major project curated by the Trinidad and Tobago national. Baptiste organizes exhibitions in traditional and non-traditional spaces. She has held roles in programming, sponsorship, marketing & communications, operations, and production with organizations that include Photo Miami, Art Basel, The Armory Show, and Creative Time. Her clients include a mix of tech, art, design, luxury brands, and spirits.

The exhibition of “Veo, I See I See, Mwen wè Mwen wè,” was made possible with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor, and Board of County Commissioners and the Knight Foundation, and private donations.

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FROM THE CARIBBEAN

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