Steel band prep for annual competition

It’s the battle of the pans.

The annual Steel Band Panorama competition returns on Sept. 2 gathering bands from all over the tri-state region in Brooklyn, for a musical match to crown one band as the best. About a dozen groups come to the grounds of the Brooklyn Museum to compete for title the best steel band in town, and many of the top groups are prepared to push for that gold star.

Last year D’Radoes won first spot making them three-time winners. The popular band is one of biggest ensembles and have won the contest consecutively since 2014. But now the team is prepared to earn another top prize with diligence, said the band’s manager.

“We are in tact with the same squad and we’ve been fortunate to be so successful over the last few years,” said Tom Montvel-Cohen. “We are very humble with our hardworking approach, and that’s something we have been really trying to do.”

Their recent victories are the result of their dedication and the band coming together working on efficiency, added Montvel-Cohen.

“Last year we executed things really well — we were very organized in not only learning the music, but the logistics in getting everyone in the museum, setting up, and everything ran smoothly — it’s really gratifying,” he said. “You need good music and good players, but you also need to keep the morale and vibes high to keep the players happy and do what we need to be done.”

Naturally, they will have competition from the other bands, including a new group making a name for themselves. Rookie band Pan Evolution came in second place at the competition, beating out other well-known bands in their first appearance in the competition. It was an incredible feat for the group, who did not expect a top place, said the chairman of the band.

“We kind of expected to come in fifth place, but coming for our first year and coming on second — it was a great feeling for most of our players and management,” said Matthew Bascombe.

“We started in November 2015 and was not even a full year of the band being in existence, but we have great players and we did a lot of hard work to get there,” said Bascombe.

He said this year they are confident that they can come in first place.

“Anybody’s goal in a contest is to win first but if we fall short and come in second we’ll accept that but our goal is to capture the win,” said Bascombe.

Other bands participating in the competition include Crossfire, which placed third in the competition, and Harmony, Adlib, Pan Fantasy, Despers U.S.A, Casym.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at