New director leads Blazing Sun Steel Pan Orchestra concert


The Blazing Sun Steel Pan Orchestra, a Bates College student ensemble directed by Shawn Thwaites, performs in concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall, 75 Russell St.

Thwaites, new to the Bates music faculty this academic year, will play steel pan as well as direct the ensemble. His brothers Sheldon and Sherwin will perform as special guests. Also featured is Greg Waters, a Bates sophomore who plays saxophone. The public is invited to attend the concert at no cost. For more information, please call 207-786-6135.

His first semester with the Bates steel band, says Thwaites, “has been a blast.” He is an alumnus of Berklee College Of Music, in Boston, and was one of the first to graduate from there with the steel pan as principal instrument.

Thwaites is the founder and director of Pan United Youth Movement, a nonprofit organization in Newark, N.J., that offers comprehensive Caribbean steel-drum instruction to young people. The organization’s broader aim is to use the performing arts as a means to building confidence and leadership skills.

The Blazing Sun program includes music by reggae legend Bob Marley, jazzman Sonny Rollins, calypso pioneer Lord Kitchener and the Thwaites brothers.

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