Panigma dispels enigma about steel drums

Reviewed by David L. Schriber a.k.a CyberBassDave

About 100 persons gathered Sunday, Feb. 21, at First Presbyterian Union Church in Owego to hear the steel drum band Panigma. It was a head-nodding, toe-tapping 90 minutes of Caribbean sounds that even gave audience members a chance at the percussion instruments. The 16 selections included “Yellowbird” (the most-requested steel drum song) and other Latin tunes, plus familiar songs byStevie Wonder, Bobby McFerrin and even Elvis! Read the rest of this entry »

Piano Plus Three makes one sweet concert

Reviewed by Lee Shepherd

Henry David Thoreau once said, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears. …”

Everyone at the Goodwill Theatre’s Schorr Family Firehouse Stage on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) stepped to the beat of a different drummer. In fact, they didn’t march to a drum at all, but two related percussion instruments.

The gifted performers were John Covelli, who should be dubbed the piano laureate of Binghamton, and three very flashy and accomplished marimba players: Cayenna Ponchione, Gordon Stout and Joel Smales. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is First Night fading? There’s still good entertainment here

First Night Binghamton was missing some things this year. Several of our favorite entertainment groups were absent, such as Bronzissimo! select handbell choir, Svitanya (an Eastern European women’s ensemble from Philadelphia) and  — horrors! — Cobblestone Crossing wasn’t at the firehouse to give us our hootenanny fix. The number of classical music choices was less than half of last year. Then there was the parade, so desperately short of merry-makers (this, too, a sign of the economy?) that fewer than 50 of the 300 puppets in Southern Tier Celebrates!’ collection made the trip down Court Street. And is it a parade without a fire engine?

The turnout? We remember when you came early, so you didn’t have to stand six deep in the crowd to watch. No problem this year – no crowd, unless they were all at the starting point. The early snow had been cleared, and, though snow later in the evening made things slippery, the early evening was mercifully mild (compared with two years ago or the first First Night in 1996!). 

Nevertheless, for those who came, there were a number of good artists and activities to enjoy, including plenty for the kids.  Read the rest of this entry »