Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Holly's Gone!

To Holly:

Farewell pan soldier
I know we’ll meet again
and I will know you
By the way
you hold your sticks
By your signature licks
And I’ll embrace you
Once again
And we’ll be jammin’
As we did in our last meeting

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Our Boys USA reunion celebration was a blast!

Our Boys USA got together for a reunion performance this past Carnival weekend. The event was hosted by Ashkenaz Cultural and Community Center in Berkeley. Led by Sharon Baird the group played a firey set that left the audience wishing for more. Click on headline to see photos or go to link below:


PanMan Leroi Boldon celebrates 75th

Bay Area veteran PanMan Leroi Boldon reached a milestone Monday in celebrating his 75th birthday. A small group of family and friends gathered at Leroi's home in San Jose to celebrate the occasion. Leroi has played with the SF Panhandlers and with Our Boys USA. He has also written tunes for Crazy and Jeff Narell. Leroi says he is looking forward to writing some new music for pan in the coming months. Bon fete Leroi!

Steel Jam in June

Steel Jam @ Beringer Vineyards,
Macy's and Oakland Zoo!
June 1, 2011 Newsletter

Steel Jam @ Pleasanton Nursing & Rehap Center Luncheon
(Steel Jam @ Staff Appreciation Lunch at Pleasanton Nursing & Rehab Center.)

At a Glance:
  • Sat., 6/4, Beringer Vineyards, 12-5 PM.
  • Sat., 6/4, Macy's,
    2-4 PM.
  • Sat., 6/25, Oakland Zoo's "Walk in the Wild," 5-8 PM.
Also on the Calendar:
  • June 2: Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce Mixer at the Holiday Inn Express Suites in Elk Grove.
  • June 10: Staff Appreciation Barbeque at San Carlos Elms.
  • June 26: Big Brothers/Big Sisters Cruise, (Tiburon Rotary event).
Steel Jam @ Four Seasons Hotel (SF) Event


Steel Jam


--Performed at the "Xactly Comp Cloud 2011 User Conference," through Bay Music & Entertainment, (5/23).

--Performed at Simi Winery through Wine Country Piano Music, (5/22).
--Performed at the U.S. Travel Association's "International Pow Wow" conference for over 1100 tour operators and event planners from around the world, (5/22).

--Performed for the Fremont Chamber of Commerce Mixer, (5/25).
--Performed at Mission San Jose Elementary School, (5/27).

--Performed for private parties in Oakland, San Jose, and Kenwood.
Steel Jam previously at Beringer Vineyards:
Steel Jam @ Beringer Vineyards

Steel Jam at Fremont Chamber of Commerce Mixer

Steel Jam (above)
at the Fremont Chamber of Commerce Mixer.

Steel Jam's public performances in June:
  • Sat., June 4, 12-5 PM, Beringer Vineyards in St. Helena-on the Promenade. Mary Spalding, Otto Huber & Julia Harrell of Steel Jam return to perform wine-sipping and toe-tapping music on the beautiful grounds of Beringer Vineyards. Usual tasting fees apply. Click here for Beringer location and info.

  • Also Sat., June 4, 2-4 PM, Steel Jam (Christin Hablewitz & Brian Andres) perform at Macy's at 1300 Stoneridge Mall Road in Pleasanton. (2nd Fl., Men's Bldg., next to Tommy Bahama's.) (Steel Jam is sponsored by Music Plus Events.)
  • Sat., June 25, 5-8 PM, "Walk in the Wild" at the Oakland Zoo. Enjoy the Zoo like never before! Now in its 19th year, this fundraiser is one of the Bay Area’s premier events. 100+ restaurants, caterers, bakeries, wineries, and brew houses will be set up throughout the Zoo to offer samples while you listen to Steel Jam and enjoy the Zoo. This fun, adult-only event usually sells out so purchase your tickets early at the Oakland Zoo's Website.

Hope you all enjoyed a relaxing Memorial Weekend Holiday!

Now that the summer party and picnic season has finally arrived--(HOORAY!)--please contact Steel Jam to add our festive steel drum music to your parties, picnics, and special events.

Steel Jam @ the Corinthian Yacht Club 9-1-08 2 A small graduation party, a company picnic for hundreds, or a conference for thousands--Steel Jam makes the entertainment a success!
We also offer fun, hands-on, interactive sessions for team building, parties, fairs, festivals, etc. Contact us and we'll prepare a quote to fit your needs.

Mary Spalding

Link to my website

Watch Steel Jam video on YouTube here
(of Google, Inc. company picnic performance).
Tel: (415) 731-3550/Cell: (415) 823-4601
Fax: (415) 731-9735
Email Link: mary@steeljam.com

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Our Boys Carnival Masquerade Fete Friday!

Went to a short rehearsal today with Our Boys and friends and...the band is smokin'. Veteran pan players like Sharon Baird, David Reid, Terry Kinsale Figuera, Kenrick Wharff, Liz La Mantia, Dexter Bruce and Jim Munzenrider of the SF Panhandlers were working up a hot set for Friday night at Ashkenaz. Don't wanna miss it. Check out the poster for details. See you Friday night cause Carnaval is Bacchanal!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Cardinal Calypso Breaking the mold

There's something about Stanford's Cardinal culture, young intellectuals giving the impression they don't take themselves too seriously, but with a standard of performance that reveals a strong dedication and commitment to excellence.
I dropped into Toyon Hall this evening to catch about four tunes of the CARDINAL CALYPSO SPRING SHOW, Discolypso, and left there really stimulated and impressed with the group's performance. I would have stayed longer but I couldn't figure out the parking situation. So I stole a few minutes in a 'service' designated spot and sneaked in to catch the show.
The approach was innovative if not creative, and with a colorful variety that captured the audience's attention. The pan program and repertoire here has really grown from the early days of 'Under the Sea". Looking forward to their future performances. These guys are breaking the mold.
Follow Cardinal Calypso here:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Shabang Opens Outdoor Season at Sam's

We're back at Sam's Chowder House in Half Moon Bay on Sunday May 1, 1-5pm for the opening of the outdoor music season. Come join us on the patio; or take a walk on the beach as you enjoy the sounds of Shabang's steelpans.

Best and Bruce at Whole Foods San Rafael

Come check us out at Whole Foods San Rafael, 1-4pm Saturday April 30. Acoustic trio: pans and traps. Weather looks good. Should be a lot of fun!

Cardinal Calypso Spring Show

Ever heard disco on steeldrums?? Here's your chance to get a taste!
Come start the weekend with a delightful and diverse set of music! You can hear everything from traditional pan pieces from Trinidad to pop songs of the decades to original pieces performed live for the first time!

Friday, May 6 · 7:00pm - 8:00pm

Toyon Hall
455 Arguello Way, Stanford, CA 94305

here's the link to the event:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Phil Hawkins at Armando's in Martinez

Hello folks,
I'd like to invite you to spend this Friday evening with us at a
very cool venue in Martinez, THAT'S RIGHT MARTINEZ Armando's.
(website <http://armandosmartinez.com/> )
It's a great room run by people who really care about presenting quality music
with great sound, atmosphere and of course.
I'll be joined by:
Michelle Hawkins - flute, vocals
Greg Rahn - keys
Marc VW - bass
Derek Rolando - percussion
Brian Andres - drums
We may also have some special guests sitting in.
To get there; head straight up 680 to the last exit (before the bridge)
and turn left into Martinez.
We'll be playing most of the tunes from "Sugarcane Suite"
along with some classic material from "H2O".
The cost is $10 and the show starts at 8pm.
Thanks and I hope to see some of you there . . . should be a great hang
(MUCH better than working on taxes).

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Stanford's Cardinal Calypso

Cardinal Calypso is Stanford University's steelpan ensemble. Founded in 2005, it may be seen anywhere around the greater Stanford campus, causing wanton happiness and general excitement.
Check out where they're beating on campus:

Monday, April 04, 2011


Saturday, April 02, 2011

'Panhandlers' is de ting...

Great show last night put on by the SF Panhandlers at their new CD release concert entitled “Pan is de ting”. The house was sold out, and the band was phenomenal. After singing one of his original tunes with the band 11-time Grammy Award winner Tony Lindsay remarked: “I should re-record this tune with this band.” I don’t think the Panhandlers and their Youth Brigade are conscious of just how good they are; and the fact that the band’s director Jim Munzenrider is approaching legend status with his latest production. In fact, let’s just dub him Jim “The Legend” Munzenrider.

Personally, I had a whale of a time sitting in on a couple of tunes including ‘three’ offerings of ‘Pan is de ting’, backed up by a 9-year-old vocalist named Maddie who matched me word for word with the lyrics. Then she broke off and took a pan solo before returning for the last verse. Amazing pipes. This kid might be the future of calypso.

The amazing Michael Spiro supervised a tight engine room with Mat Germano on drums and the dreadlocked Newton Martin on Iron.

All in all, this show was a blast. I think I heard Jim mention an upcoming concert with Robert Greenidge in December. I ain’ missin’ dat.

Panhandlers’ CDs can be purchased at www.csmsteeldrums.com, or catch them on Facebook as: Panhandlers Steel Drum Band.

Friday, April 01, 2011

2011 Pan Ramajay Summer Steel Drum Festival Registration NOW OPEN.

2010 Festival faculty members (L-R): Ray Holman, Michael Spiro, Jim Munzenrider.

March 21, 2011

Dear Harry,

Registration is now open for the 2011 Pan Ramajay Summer Steel Drum Festival. A registration application can be filled out and submitted online here.

Faculty Line up (to date)

Along with Pan Ramajay members, Tom Miller, Alan Lightner, and Jim Munzenrider, we are very pleased to have Ray Holman joining us again in 2011 along with Pan Jumbie's, Don Prorak and Rocky Mountain Steel Bands, director, Rick Henson. We look forward to another great week of new steel band music.

Festival rates for 2011.


Full Session Participant - $525.00 | Half Day Participant - $200.00
APPLICATION FEES (non-refundable)
$50.00 New Full Session registrants | $25.00 Returning Full Session (of 2010) & All Half Day registrants.
The instrument rental fee is for participants opting to use a festival provided instrument only. Applicants are highly encouraged to bring their own instruments if possible.
Rental Fee: Full Session $75.00 | Half Day Session $35.00
University Residence Hall accommodations are available this year. The residence halls are ideally located two blocks from the festival venue. All rooms have shared bathroom facilities and AC. Single Room is $330.00 and a Double Room is $260.00. Check in time is 3 PM, Sunday, July 17.
A group rate of $79.00 per night (plus tax) for a King or Double is available at the Marriott Courtyard Denver Southwest/Lakewood. PLEASE NOTE: This property is not the same as the 2010 host hotel and is 9 miles from the festival venue.
Booking may be done at www.marriott.com/denlk with group code DUSDUSB for a double or DUSDUSA for a king.
A comprehensive Meal Plan option is available for residence hall guests for dining in the residence hall dining rooms. This plan covers breakfast, lunch and dinner, beginning with breakfast on July 18 through dinner July 22.
Cost: $150.00

Please mark your calendar for July 17-22, 2011!

We look forward to seeing you in Denver this July!

Get more information as it becomes available by visiting our site www.ramajaypanfest.com

Pan Ramajay's, Alan Lightner and Tom Miller.

Festival participants perform in the finale concert.

Faculty member, Don Prorak with Ray Holman.

Rick Henson of Rocky Mountain Steel Bands.


POB 101922 Denver CO 80250

A message from pan tuner Joe Kelly

I took the last 8 months off from producing pans so that I could begin to learn the art of being a father. From time to time she is louder than a hundred hammers...but I'm having a blast! I missed hammering, but the opportunity to spend so much time with Anya was a true blessing. I'm excited to let everyone know that I resumed crafting my instruments this week. My workshop is now in San Rafael, CA. Take advantage of my discounts on tunings through the month of March: 1-3 instruments = $75/instrument (reg. $125), 4+ instruments = $55/instrument.
Feel free to email me or call 415-672-3846 to set up an appointment. Pass the news on to your
friends and colleagues and enjoy the attached photo, she's beautiful.
take care,
Joe Kelly

Harry Best and Dexter Bruce Pan Duo at Tiki Tom's

Harry Best and Dexter Bruce do a steelpan duo at Tiki Tom's (925) 932-9202 · 1535 Olympic Blvd, Walnut Creek, CA 94596; 6:30-9:30pm. Come enjoy tropical food, drinks and music. Spring is here!

New Spring classes in San Rafael

Learn the magic of making music on Caribbean steel drums. Have fun with the basics of sticking and melody making. Enjoy playing favorites like Yellow Bird, Marianne, Jamaica Farewell, Lion King and more. Beginners will be jamming’ instantly with the easy play-by-note method. Intermediate students will expand their skills and repertoire. We supply the drums,
just come ready to have fun!!!
Instructor Harry Best, a native of St. Lucia, Harry is a seasoned steel drum instructor and performer.
Wednesdays April 20—May 25
Fee: $100 Resident/$105 Non Resident
Beginning Class
6:00 PM—7:00 PM Class Code 16103
Intermediate Class
7:00 PM—8:00 PM Class Code 16104
Pickleweed Park Community Center Art Room
Pickleweed Community Center
50 Canal Street
San Rafael, California 94901

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Panhandlers CD release concert April 1

The SF Panhandlers will release their 5th CD at a concert Friday April 1, 7:30pm at the College of San Mateo, 1700 W. Hillsdale Bl. in San Mateo. The title of the CD is 'Pan is de ting' from the tune by the same name written by Harry Best and arranged by Tom Miller. The CD was produced by Jim Munzenrider. The CD features Tony Lindsay, lead singer with Santana; International percussionsist Mike Spiro; the Contra Costa Children's Chorus; and saxaphonist Danny Bittker. Tracks include:
  • From the heart - Robert Greenidge
  • Plenty Lovin' - Ray Holman
  • Pan is de ting - Harry Best arranged by Tom Miller
  • Bird of beauty - Stevie Wonder
  • If we really want - Ray Holman
  • Sonhos - Ivan Lins arranged by Ed Fernandez with solos by Michael McMorrow, Anna Talamo
  • Chant - Liam Teague
  • Take a wine - Ray Holman

Take me out to the ball park

In the spirit of Baseball’s Opening Day: a Song Sheet you can print and play on your pan, ipod, iphone or ipad app.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Harry Best Steelpan Classes Newsletter – Spring’11

New Class Opens in Richmond

A beginners’ steelpan class offered by West Contra Costa Adult Education will start Tuesday March 29 8pm at the Alvardao campus, 5625 Sutter St., Richmond CA 94804.

The class will run for 7 weeks. The fee is $35. See class listing and info at this link:


Beginning and Intermediate Classes in Session in San Rafael

Beginning and intermediate classes are now in their third week at Pickleweed Community Center in San Rafael. Beginners start at 6pm on Wednesdays followed by the Intermediates at 7pm. Classes run through April 6. See flyer attached for more info.

Pan Jose Class to resume

The South Bay Pan Group will resume classes in April following a short break to allow students to travel and celebrate Carnival in Trinidad&Tobago. Call 510 222 1123 for more information on this class.

Intermediate Class Starting in Orinda

A new intermediate class will begin in Orinda and run concurrently with the Beginners’ class for the spring session starting April 11. Intermediates will meet at 6-7pm and Beginners 7-8pm at the Orinda Community Center, 26 Orinda Way in Orinda Ca. Call 925 253 4203 for registration.

CSM Panhandlers in concert April 1, 2011

Don’t miss the CSM Pandlers steelpan CD release concert April 1. The Panhandlers have been the premier steelpan program in the Bay Area for more than 20 years. They are internationally acclaimed. If you have never seen or heard a full steelpan orchestra of more than 20 people you will totally enjoy this performance. The title of the CD is taken from a tune I wrote for the Trinidad And Tobago Carnival entitled ‘Pan is deT’ing’. The Panhandlers recorded the tune for their new CD.

When: Friday, 4/1/ 2011 [7:30pm]

What: In concert with 11-time Grammy winner Tony Lindsay. With special guests: Internationally recognized percussionist Michael Spiro and the Nueva School and North Shoreview Montessori School Steel Drum Bands. The Panhandlers will also be celebrating the release of their 5th CD Pan Is De 'Ting.

Where: College of San Mateo Theater
1700 West Hillsdale Blvd., San Mateo

Ticket Info: For advance tickets: Please mail your check payable to: "Panhandlers Steel Drum Band" 3718 Casanova Drive San Mateo, CA 94403 Gen-Admission $15.00 Seniors / students: $13.00 Note: We will hold your tickets at will-call unless you indicate that you want them mailed to you. Ticket booth will open at 6:30pm the day of the show (doors open at 7pm).

Read more about the Panhandlers here:


Steelpan for sale

I have one previously owned lead steelpan for sale. It is in excellent condition and well tuned. It’s a Low C tenor voice in the Circle of Fifths pattern and powder-coated in silver. It was a Christmas gift for a young boy who preferred to play guitar. Hardly played on. Comes with free mallets and instruction book. Total package is $800 (plus tax). First come First Served! I can be reached at 510 222 1123.

If you are interested in purchasing a steelpan, let me know how much you are willing to spend and I will do my best to get you the most value for your money.

Harry's Upcoming public gigs
  • I will be doing a steelpan solo at the Marin Civic Center Farmers’ Market on Sunday March 27, 9-1pm. Come out and say hello.
  • I will be performing with a fellow pan musician as a steelpan duo April 2, 6:30-9:30pm at Tiki Tom’s, Olympic Bl. In Walnut Creek. Fun atmosphere with Hawaiian food and tropical drinks. Would love to see you there. You can also find other public performances by my group in the Calendar section at this link: http://www.shabang.us/

Questions? Call me at 510 222 1123; or email harrybest@shabang.us.

www.kakesa.com has everything you need to play beautiful steeldrum music!