Thursday, December 13, 2012

Musicians needed for Advanced steel drum class

We're looking for 5 capable musicians to join our steel drum group in the eastbay. Requires discipline and a willingness to learn. Helps if you read music but not essential. Call Harry at PanWest Caribbean Steelpan Music Center in El Cerrito: 510 222 1123.

PanWest featured in Contra Costa Times

PanWest featured on El Cerrito Patch website


New Digital Pan Sounds available for panKAT

New digital pan sound samples are now available for the panKAT. See link below:

Holiday Pan Jam!

Harry Best and friends will host a special holiday pan concert this Saturday, Dec. 15, 8pm at Soccer4, 2101 Telegraph Ave, Oakland. Come enjoy the holidays with some warm Caribbean steelpan sounds. Admission is free! Harry will have his newly released CD on sale. Also available on, and Call 510 222 1123 for more info.

Free Beginners Pan Classes Every Monday night

We are now offering FREE beginners pan classes every Monday night at 7pm. Just drop in. Our address is 10855 San Pablo Ave. in El Cerrito 94530.

Steelpan Package for sale

Former student is selling her pan, case, stand and music stand at a bargain price. Call Harry if you're interested 510 222 1123.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Friday Night Pan Lime!

Come play a tune, listen or just hang out, 8-12midnite. Bring a friend. Beverages on sale. PanWest 10855 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito CA 94530.

PanWest to showcase students at Solano Stroll

PanWest students from San Rafael will showcase their talents at the 38th Annual Solano Avenue Stroll, "Step into the future", Sunday, September 9 between 11am and 1pm. Among those performing will be Glenn Bowland, Linda Fox, Albert DeLima, Maureen Delema, Megan Black, Louise Yost and Margie Wade. The students' set will be followed by Shabang Steel Drum Trio featuring Harry Best, Dexter Bruce and Ed McCarver.
Since 1974, The merchants, restaurants, and professionals, as well as the twin cities of Albany and Berkeley CA, have hosted the Solano Avenue Stroll, the east bay's largest street festival! The Solano Avenue Merchants Association invites you to come and see what makes Solano Avenue such a wonderful place.
Over five hundred vendors, non-profit organizations, food booths and entertainers!
Participants and the event guests visit from everywhere throughout California; as well as neighboring states from Nevada to Maine.
The fun begins at 10 am with the opening of Solano Avenue businesses and Stroll booths and the kick-off is the theme parade with about 100 groups.
After the parade, you can visit one of 50 entertainers, 50 food booths, 150 juried arts and crafters, state of the art mechanical rides, and 150 community non-profit and government organizations, not to mention the unique and popular professional services, restaurants, and shops already here on Solano Avenue.
You will hear the best in local music, dance and other performances and absolutely stunning costumes from all over the globe!
This is a family event! A special area set aside just for kids offers giant slides, carnival games, clowns, jugglers, stilt walkers, face painters, magicians, and maybe even wizards and elves -- come and see for yourselves...
Come join us for an afternoon in the sun.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Duvone Stewart Workshop slated for Sept. 1

Steelpan Workshop with Duvone Stewart is set for Saturday September 1, 10am-3pm, at PanWest CSMC 10855 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito CA 94530. Come and sharpen your improvisational skills and learn how Duvone rips it up on the pan. Call 510 222 1123 for more information.

Help Needed, Save on Registration-Tuition Fees!

Do you have any skills in the following areas? You can save on registration and tuition fees by trading your services at PanWest:
  • e-commerce
  • publicity/PR
  • booking and managment
  • steelpan mallet crafting
Call 510 222 1123

Sunday, August 19, 2012

PanWest Open House a resounding success

We wish to express thanks, first and foremost to God, the I Am presence whose activity we acknowledge in all things and everyone; to
  • the Best family, especially my wife Romaine, our mothers, my sons, my brother and his family, the whole Best clan.; 
  • Claude Gonzalez for landing the building for us and for the numberless conversations on pan.
  • Duvone Stewart for his special appearance and for lighting up the crowd.
  • fellow musicians and students at the different community centers.
  • everyone who turned up to celebrate the Grand Opening and those who intend to join us in activities
All of us who play a pan recognize that we enjoy a truly unique instrument and art form gifted to us through the struggles of the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
We feel a sense of fraternity with all others who play the instrument, regardless of what level of proficiency.
 At PanWest, we feel pan is an instrument not just of music but also community. We truly believe that is the purpose of it's emergence. And if you take the time to track it's evolution you will see that everywhere a pan program exists you have the nucleus of a community.
  We also believe that music and the arts is where the answer to our societal woes lies. Because everyone is a creator whether in music or another art form. It's this belief that inspires our mission statement here in this venture:

PanWest is dedicated to enlightening people to their own musical potential. At PanWest we see everyone as a musician whether or not they have ever played a steel drum/pan. We recognize that in each of us is a creative spirit with a unique voice. We believe that for the sake of health that voice needs to be expressed. When that voice is a steel drum/pan, we provide products and support that help that voice come forth.
We are about more than teaching steel drum/pan music. We are about the healing power of music to meet human need for joy. That's why we encourage and support efforts of individuals and groups who work to bring steel drum/pan music to their community. It is our goal to use our mental, physical, and spiritual resources to enrich the lives of our students, teachers, and supporters through steel drum/pan music.
In this way we hope to enlighten you to your own wonderful musical potential and by doing so add harmony to this world.

We invite you to come join our musical community and enjoy a most unique art form that validates you as the creator you are. Bring your children and family members. Make it a family activity. We promise you will gain more benefits and improve the quality of life for you and your family better than any other activity we can think of.
We welcome you and assure you that whether you take our classes or not this will always be a haven for you when you need to enjoy the soothing sounds of pan to relieve the stresses of the day.
Once again, thanks to all of you.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

PanWest CSMC Announcement and FAQs

We are waiving the registration fee for the first 20 students who enroll 
before Aug. 20. See Registration Form below.
Some FAQs
Q: Are pans provided for the class or do students have to bring 
their own?
A: We provide all the pans for the classes but students are welcome to 
bring their own.
Q: Does anyone rent pans(so I could practice and/or have them for class 
if needed)?
A: We don't know of anyone else who rents pans and all our pans will be 
in use at the Center. But if there is enough interest in renting we will 
look into bringing in more pans.
Q: Is a double seconds spot in the class still open?
A: Yes, Double seconds are open.
Q: Will the classes run for a certain # of weeks then finish with a  
performance, or will the class just run open-ended? If a performance, do  
you know that date?
A: The classes will run open-ended and we plan to have quarterly 
performances but no date has been chosen until we know what the full 
enrollment will be.
Q: I'd love to do the Thursday class but couldn't because I already have 
a commitment that night of the week. 
A: For now the classes are set tentatively. If more members in the 
Intermediate class would rather meet on Thursdays or vice versa we would 
consider switching them. 
Q: Is the Adults reading/rhythm class included in the tuition or is that 
a separate fee? Should I do that, too?
A:Right now, the reading/rhythm is offered as part of the tuition and 
is optional, as needed.
The Pandamentals class is also free to all registered students. It's 
intensive and is really aimed at mastering the instrument.
Please send your questions and/or suggestions to
or call 510 222 1123.

Student Name:
Last__________________________ First______________________
Number & Street__________________________________________
City________________State_____ Zip____________________
Day__________________________ Evening________________
Date of Birth:___________
Father's Name (Youth)___________________________
Mother's Name (Youth)___________________________
Previous Study: Instrument/Number of Years:
Registration Fee: $35.00 individual/$50.00 family per year________
Class Tuition: $100/month (10% discount to former students of Harry Best and one referral of their choice; 20% Discount for additional family members)
Make check payable to: PanWest CSMC Amount Enclosed: _____________
(Please circle one)
MC, Visa, Disc,# __________________________
Exp Date: ____________ Zip Code ________________________
Signature: ______________________________________________
Mail Form to: PanWest CSMC 10855 San Pablo Ave. El Cerrito CA 94530

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

PanWest CSMC Open House

You are invited to the Grand Opening of the PanWest Caribbean Steelpan Music Center. Open House August 18, 3-7pm. Bring a friend. 10855 San Pablo Ave El Cerrito CA 94530. 510 222 1123. Meet and greet other Bay Area pan musicians and learn about PanWest plans and programs for the future. Classes begin Monday August 20.
Join PanWest Facebook Group:

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Sharon Baird with the 'Bang Band

Sharon Baird with Ed McCarver (L) and Dexter Bruce (R) of Shabang at Sam's Chowder House in Half Moon Bay June 16, 2012. Trio did a repeat performance July 7.

Val Serrant KAISO Fundraiser

Thursday, July 05, 2012

PanWest CSMC program set to launch in August

10855 San Pablo Ave. El Cerrito CA 94530 - 510 222 1123

We have finalized terms with our landlord and classes are set to begin the week of August 19. Here is what the monthly program looks like right now. Things could change as we progress:


Kids/Jumbies (Beginners) – Reading and Rhythm (4-5pm)
Kids/Jumbies (Beginners) – Jumbie Jam Tunes (5-6pm)

Adults/Beginners – Rhythm and Reading (6-7pm)
Adults/Beginners Pan Tunes (7-8pm)

Tuesdays* (Pickleweed Community Center, San Rafael)
Beginning Caribbean Steelpans 6-7pm
Intermediate Caribbean Steelpans 7-8pm


Kids/Pandaleros (Intermediates) – Reading and Rhythm (5-6pm)
Kids/Pandaleros Steelband – (6-7pm)

Adults - Rhythm and Reading (7-8pm)
Adults – Cerritos Intermediate Steelband (8-9pm)


Adults – Panchant Advanced Steelband (7-9pm)


Caribbean Film Festival (8-10pm)


Pandaleros Pandamentals 10-11am
Adults Pandamentals 11-12noon
Private Lessons 12-5pm

Small Ensemble Performances (Fourth Saturday) – 7:30-9:30pm


Pan in the Park Jam sessions (check for schedule) (3-6pm)

*El Cerrito CSMC closed.

Monday, June 11, 2012

PanWest Caribbean Steelpan Music Center

This is our proposed headquarters for the new Caribbean Steelpan Music Center. It is located at 10855 San Pablo Ave in El Cerrito. We have an agreement in principle with the owners of the building. The details will be ironed out soon and we plan to begin classes in August. We will be releasing more information on the program and classes as we progress. Thanks for the great show of support!

Friday, June 08, 2012

Bellstars New Pete Engelhart creation

Configured by Harry Best
Designed and created by Pete Englehart

  • Fully Chromatic – C#
  • Wholetone inverted images on each side
  • Geometrical symmetry
  • Played with hands or rubber tipped mallets

Pete Engelhart

Pete Engelhart began crafting metal percussion instruments after spending time in Brazil in the 1950's. He combined his life long love of jazz, knowledge of Latin rhythms and sounds, and his ability as an artist to produce complicated resonant tuned bells.
Pete has now been handcrafting metal percussion for nearly 43 years. He has designed a large variety of highly creative instruments that are now used worldwide by many professional musicians.
This current line of 9 instruments has been designed to fill the basic needs of the working drummer / percussionist. It represents the essential toolkit for the modern drummer. The metal instruments are all hand made with care by Pete Engelhart. The bells are made of heavy gauge metal and are individually tuned.

Harry Best

Harry Best is a professional steelpan player and innovator and enjoys exploring the correspondences between music and geometry especially as it relates to the steelpan.
This configuration was inspired by the Ellie Manette standard pattern for the double second steelpans. The right side of the Bellstars is an exact image of the right side of the Manette double seconds. Harry simply created an inverted symmetry on the left side.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Guppy lead for sale

Former Bay Area panman Fitzroy Balfour, now residing in Seattle has a Guppy Brown lead for sale. Built in 1996, the pan was recently tuned by Ancil Joseph in Arizona. Fitzroy is asking $700 for the pan. He can be reached at 425 -773 -6488.

Mr. FixIt readies pan float for T&T Steel at SF Carnaval

Carlyle, Mr. Fixit! the hardest working man in the Bay Area built the float in the eastbay, towed it to SF at 5am, made all the secure adjustments then joined the rhythm section for a hot jam down the road.

Dexter Bruce of Shabang solos on Samba de Orfeo

Pan on the road in SF Carnaval

Sharon Baird and LaMantia on the Trinidad and Tobago Our Boys Steel Orchestra float in the San Francisco Carnival Memorial Day weekend.

Pan rep at Black History Celebration

PanWoman Sharon Baird and Harry Best share a moment with Rev. Richard A. Roberts of the San Francisco Community Fellowship at a Black History celebration in Daly City.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

New Steelpan Program to Launch in East Bay

I am recruiting 15 people for a new Caribbean Steelpan Music Program to be launched late summer or early fall in the East Bay. Please contact me if you are interested or pass the word to those who might be. I can be reached by email,, or by calling 510 222 1123. All are welcome, beginners to advanced. Beat Pan! Harry Best 510 222 1123

Friday, May 18, 2012

Stanford's Cardinal Calypso in Blue Panic

Stanford's Cardinal Calypso in 'blue' (we won't tell CAL)playing Adam Genecov's Beat Panic at a May 11 spring concert in Toyon Hall.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Third Annual Pan Ramajay Summer Steel Drum Festival

Come and join us July 8-13, 2012 for more great pan music.  There is still time to register!
2010 Festival faculty members (L-R): Ray Holman, Michael Spiro, Jim Munzenrider.
There is still time to register for the Third Annual Pan Ramajay Summer Steel Drum Festival in Denver, CO.  The 2012 festival will again feature Trinidadian pan master, Ray Holman, along with Tom Miller, Alan Lightner, and
Jim Munzenrider, of "Pan Ramajay", "Pan Jumbie's", Don Prorak and Rick Henson of "Rocky Mountain Steel Bands".
The registration deadline is June 15, 2012, and fast approaching so don't hesitate.  Please join us July 8-13 for another week of great pan music. More info can be found at

Please join us July 8-13, 2012 at
Denver CO 80208
Get more information by visiting our site

Pan Ramajay's, Alan Lightner and Tom Miller.
Festival participants perform in the finale concert.
Faculty member, Don Prorak with Ray Holman.
POB 101922 Denver CO 80250

Vintage Pans for sale

A friend of mine has two oldies but goldies for sale:
1 - Painted C lead tenor, circle of fifths, built by Patrick Arnold. Comes with stand and fiber case; all for the bargain price of $375. Actually sounds pretty good.
1 - Set of Ellie Mannette built, painted double seconds. Comes with stand and fiber cases for $950.

Both set of pans were probably built in the 80s and look a little crude compared to today's pans, but they both have a surprisingly sweet ring probably due to the quality of steel that was available back then. Call me if you're interested. They won't be around very long.
510 222 1123

Steel Jams in May

         Steel Jam @ CSL Kitchen Tour,
  Beringer & Marsh Manor Center
May 18-28
Public Performances
   At Pebble Beach
Wedding Reception:
Steel Jam at Pebble Beach Wedding Reception

    Recent Bookings:
  • Wedding Reception at  the Monterey Peninsula Country Club.

  • Beringer Vineyards.

  • Steel Drum History Lecture and Concert at Laguna Honda Hospital.
  • Marsh Manor Center.
  • Private graduation party.
  • Rock Wall Wine Co. Open House & Luau.

  • "Heritage Night" celebration at a Bay Area elementary school,  May 16.

  • Performance for the CA Retired Teachers Association, May 21.

  • Interactive steel drum facilitation for Legal Aid of Marin event, June 1.

  • Oakland Zoo's "Walk in the Wild" Annual Fundraiser, June 23.

Steel Jam Logo
At Intuitive Surgical, Inc. "TGIF" party:
Steel Jam at Intuitive Surgical Inc TGIF Party
Mary at ISES Eventworld Conference at ATT Park
At ISES Eventworld Conference at
AT&T Park.
Our public performances in May include:
  • Fri., May 18, 10-2 PM, 32nd Annual Hillsborough "Kitchen Tour." This self-guided tour of five unique homes showcases newly-remodeled kitchens that feature historic and contemporary designs. (Steel Jam performs at 659 Brewer Dr.) $40 advanced tickets/ $50 at the door.  (This Community Service League fundraiser benefits San Mateo County's Mental Health Assoc. & YFES Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Center.)  Buy tickets (or more info) HERE.

  • Sat., May 19 & Mon., May 28, (Memorial Day), 12-5 PM, Beringer Vineyards in St. Helena. Steel Jam returns to perform its wine-sipping, toe-tapping music on Beringer's beautiful grounds. (This regal estate holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously operating winery in the Napa Valley.) Usual tasting fees apply. Click HERE for Beringer's website.

  • Thursday, May 24, 6-8 PM at the Marsh Manor Center as part of their "Live Music on the Patio!" series. (Florence St. @ Marsh Rd., Redwood City.)  Click HERE for more info.
Hope you can come on out
to have a listen
or do some dancing!
The summer party season is just around the corner and Steel Jam can help solve your entertainment needs.

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. Email me for details and rates.

Bring on the summer!

Mary Spalding

Watch video here of a 1-min. clip at a Google picnic performance.               
Cell:  (415) 823-4601
Email Link:

Harmonics Revival

Former members of the Harmonics Steelband had a rare get together at the Hyatt Regency in Monterey last night. L-R: Fogi Glasgow on 3-Cellos, Paul Sangg on DSeconds, Harry Best on LTenor, and Peter Best on DSeconds.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Spiceman Pan at the Vallejo Farmers' Market

Paul Snagg's setup at the Vallejo Farmers' Market on this beautiful day!

Wild Kingdom Pan sticks from

Pan paws

Red Love Ladybugs

Ants in your pans

Pan Gold at Richmond - Shimada Sister City Festival

Panman Phil Hawkins plays with Ray Obiedo at a concert last Saturday at the Richmond Auditorium for the  Festival of Gold: Richmond-Shimada Japan sister city celebration.

Asheba rings out a tune with the little Pan darlings

Asheba entertaining the kids at Whole Foods in Oakland April 22.

Glorious Day for Pan at the Farmers' Market

Sun cam out early today heralding a glorious day for pan playing around the Bay. Most appreciated at this Farmers' Market in El Cerrito where Harry Best was doing his thing.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Cardinal Calypso Goes Blue for Spring Show

Just wanted to notify you guys about our spring show if you want to/have time to come down and watch. It's May 11th from 7-8:30pm at Toyon Hall on campus: we'd be excited to have you and you guys. If there are other people in the area that you think would be interested feel free to invite them. Below is a blurb I made for people who have had us play for them this year so feel free to forward the info and the flyer to whomever.


We wanted to present you with an opportunity to come see us perform in our biggest show of the year from 7:00 to 8:30pm on Friday, May 11th! This year, the show is called Blue Pan Group (steeldrums are actually called steelPANS... and we like puns) and will feature most of our new repertoire from this year (including an original piece), Blue Man Group themed skits for comic relief, and random blue and non-blue antics. Also, if you're a fan of decorations, costumes, and random giveaways... you might enjoy the show. This is our chance to present all of our work - in a more informal way - to the Stanford community and all else who want to come and listen.

It will be held in Toyon Hall (in the dorm lounge), 455 Arguello Way, Stanford, CA 94305see map
There is limited parking in the back (at the end of Buckeye Ln) and on nearby streets (Serra and Escondido). Parking is also free on the the weekends (weekends start at 4pm on Friday). It will be free for anyone with a Stanford ID and only $5 for those without. RSVP is not necessary, but please notify us if you are planning on bringing a large group of people; Toyon has space for about 200 people and we want to make sure people can be comfortable.

Please forward the attached flyer below to people in your dorm, department, school, colleague groups, friend groups, and/or emailing lists that you think would be interested: it's a show for everyone so invite anyone you want! It should be known that if the show were a movie, it might be rated PG-13: only in terms of language - there may be a couple clips of limited curse words. 

Feel free to check out clips of our last spring show, Discalypso, on our site and/or Facebook page and/or Youtube channel. 
If you can't make it to the show, there are a plethora of campus events at which you may catch us playing one of our sets. You can be updated about them on our site as well (click on the gig to see details and check if it is open to the public): http//

Hope to see you there!
Akwasi Abrefah - Emma Sagan - Adam Genecov
Co-Presidents - Cardinal Calypso

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Pan Pan! by Harry Best

2CanPan Duo of Moraga CA

Husband and wife duo Yvonne and Mike light up the Moraga Farmers' Market with some sweet pan playing Jimmy Buffett's Volcano.

Best of Brisbane

Harry Best plays 1-yr-old Birthday Party celebration in Brisbane Sunday April 29.

Spice Man at the Dock

Paul Snagg at the St. Francis Yacht club Opening Day Sunday April 29.

Harmonics sighting!

Paul Snagg and Peter Best of the Harmonics in Redwood City Health Fair April 21.

Andy Narell and Our Boys Retro

Sharon Baird and Our Boys on the Road for SF Carnaval

 Sharon Baird will be leading the Trinidad and Tobago Steelband on the road in the San Francisco Carnaval Memorial Day weekend. Parade starts at 10am on Mission Street.

 Come out and join for us for a day of steelpan music on de road for the SF Carnival with the Trinidad and Tobago Steelpan along former members from Our Boys Steel Orchestra, Bruce, Sharon, Ollison, Skiffle Bunch and The Coffee Boys member, Terry Kinsale Figuera, Chabot Panhandlers member Anna Talamo, along with lengendary percussionist Val Serrant, Zwadie - Grenada, Hugh Humphrey - T&T, Carlyle Garrett - St. Vincent, Harry Best - St Lucia, La Mantia (Liz) - Cali and a host of others. De truck will be on de road, with pulsating steelpan music for yuh to wine yuh bumcy, play yuh self or shake yuh choice is YOURS. T-Shirts will be on sale for $20.00..pic's to follow soon. dey nice. YOU MUST BE IN SHIRT IN ORDER TO JOIN DE BAND, so get yours early.