Pan Alive 2015 to pay tribute to Miley Duke
Toronto, July 21, 2015 – Members of the local steelpan fraternity, preparing for competition at this year’s Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival, is remembering one of their peers who will not be participating in the 2015 festival.
Miley Joseph Duke, founder and arranger of New Dimension Steel Orchestra, died June 1.
“Seldom do you meet someone who wants to see the good in people and genuinely wants to see them thrive and be the best they can be. Miley Duke was that type of man,’’ Jose Mochado said Monday, at a news conference of the Ontario Steelpan Association (OSA) at Twilight Family Restaurant in Scarborough.
Mochado, a longtime friend of Duke, has committed himself to the continued survival of New Dimension, which would lead a tribute to Duke at this year’s OSA-sponsored Pan Alive competition on July 31 at Lamport Stadium, 1151 King Street West.
For the first time, the competition will be streamed lived on the internet. It will be carried on www.caribbeanconnectionstv.com
New Dimension will not compete in Pan Alive but will make a guest appearance, and also performance the Canadian national anthem to open the steelbands’ show.
OSA chairman Ken Bhagan recalled the many meetings – formal and informal – that he held with Duke, and noted the late panman’s passion for the steelpan.
“His heart was in the right place,’’ Bhagan said of Duke. “He loved pan, he loved the association, and he was a good storyteller; he could tell a story for hours.’’
Duke, before establishing New Dimension, was involved with Afropan, Toronto’s oldest steel orchestra that was founded by Earl La Pierre Sr., who is still the band’s arranger.
“Miley was a good man in Afropan,’’ La Pierre admitted Monday. “When he left Afropan, he went and formed his own band. All respects to Miley Duke.’’
At the news conference, which was attended by Denise Herrera-Jackson of the Festival Management Committee (FMC), La Pierre and other OSA representatives outlined the challenges confronting steelbands.
After more than four decades, Afropan still does not have a covered facility for the band’s rehearsal sessions, La Pierre disclosed.
“We have a panyard but we don’t have premises. It’s going on forty-something years now and we just don’t have a home,’’ he said.
“Most of the steelbands have money problems,’’ La Pierre added. “I’m just thankful that we are getting something but I wish it was little bit more, so that we don’t have to be scrunting. Given same opportunity and funding, steelbands could produce something bigger, on the level of mas’ bands.’’
Herrera-Jackson, chief executive officer of the FMC, which finances Pan Alive, and produces the King and Queen of the Bands’ show and the carnival’s street parade, said overall funding for the festival – from the provincial and federal levels of government – has been diminishing.
“Any funding we get has to be applied to specific activities,’’ she said.
OSA founding-member and leader and arranger of Panmasters Steel Orchestra, Tommy Crichlow, said his band is ready for both Pan Alive and the street parade on August 1.
“I would ask all the steelbands to put their best foot forward. Pan Alive – our steelband event – must be the biggest thing after the parade. I would love to see this,’’ said Crichlow.
“I look forward to the road. Funding or no funding, I’m going on the road,’’ Crichlow emphasized,’’ saying it’s an opportunity for steelbands to make a “visible impact’’.
“My band has to be on the road. I’m going on the road and I hope all the other steelbands do the same. This is a spectacle and you have to look nice.’’
La Pierre said Afropan, too, will be on the carnival parade route on Lakeshore Boulevard.
“Afropan is the people’s band and we’re trying to please the people as best as we could this year,’’ he said.
By Lincoln Depradine
Toronto, July 19, 2015 – The Festival Management Committee (FMC), organizer of the Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival, presented a public preview of what’s to be expected when the big parade is held on August 1.
Last Saturday’s FMC Junior Carnival and Family Day was a colourful and exciting spectacle, enjoyed by both children and adults.
It included a jump up on the streets of Malvern, culminating with youth entertainment, as well as the sale of food, and arts and craft, at Malvern and Neilson Parks.
The event, described by many as the best children’s carnival in years, was supported by private and public sector officials including Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory.
Junior Carnival and Family Day, according to the FMC, is organized “to allow young people to participate as producers, performers and presenters’’.
Among upcoming carnival events are a Calypso Extravaganza on July 25 at the Chinese Cultural Centre at 5183 Sheppard Ave. East; and the Pan Alive competition on July 31 at Lamport Stadium, 1151 King St. West.
Premier Kathleen Wynne meets a father and his baby son at Junior Carnival & Family Day
Toronto’s Kids’ Carnival
© 2015 Ontario Steelpan Association