Pantastic wins #1 in australia!
Banner from Pantastic’s winning performance
Attending the first Australian Steelband Festival was a fantastic opportunity for the steelbands to show off their goods, meet new friends, and dance dance dance! The festival couldn’t have been smoother, and I think we all had our expectations exceeded. This was a testament to the hard work and countless hours of preparation… particularly by Rita Seethaler. Rita hails from Switzerland, which explains why this festival ran like… a Swiss clock. Rita has been instrumental (oh bad puns!) in developing steelbands in Australia, particularly in the fire affected community of Marysville, Victoria.
Marysville, a beautiful community in the lush mountains northeast of Melbourne, was devastated from the fires of Black Saturday in 2009. An unbelievable 90% of their buildings were destroyed, and the region lost 173 people. Out of this tragedy, comes hope and opportunity. Rita recognized the healing power of music and community, and has started 2 steelbands in Marysville, and another in nearby Taggerty.
But back to the point of my blog… we won!! Pantastic, the Sunshine Coast steelband started by Matthew Davies and Sharon Brown, took the honors at the first Australian Steelband Festival. Matthew in particular was recognised for his fantastic skills arranging and composing calypsos. It’s been my pleasure to perform at this festival with Pantastic Steelband and it’s wonderful members. Now the only question is… when is the next festival??