Concert brings Caribbean music to West Mall

JT Lindsey

The Pans of Texas held an end-of-semester concert on the West Mall Wednesday, looking to brighten spirits on campus as final exams approach. 

Dozens of students, faculty and family members of the band attended the concert to watch members perform on the steel drums of Trinidad and Tobago. The band battled back against the brisk winter air by playing warm weather favorite ”Margaritaville,” Rick Astley’s Internet meme “Never Gonna Give You Up” and the seasonal “All I Want For Christmas is You,” along with many others.

Music graduate student Diana Loomer, director of the Pans of Texas, said the music the group plays encourages people to enjoy themselves and move in ways that other concerts cannot.

“I enjoy the type of music that we play, because it’s meant to be fun,” Loomer said. “It’s meant to be played where the audience can move around, instead of being in a setting where you have to sit still.”

For many members of the band, this performance is their only chance during the semester to showcase the music and talents they have learned. Chemical engineering sophomore Heath Koch, first-year member of the Pans of Texas, said his favorite part of playing in the ensemble is the joy that the members and the audience bring to the performance.

“I love the energy everyone brings to it and how much fun everyone has playing,” Koch said. “It’s a great stress reliever, and people can just stop and listen on their way to the FAC or the Drag.”

For students in attendance, the concert was a pick-me-up during a difficult part of the semester. Mathematics junior Eita Yamaguchi said the timing of the concert was perfect to boost student morale.

“It’s pretty cool they do it during midterms week, it feels like a breath of fresh air,” Yamaguchi said. “Live music is always a plus, I’ll never turn that down.”

Studying as he listened, radio-television-film freshman Ryan Chang said the concert was a good place to study and break up the monotony of his normal study habits.

“I needed a change of pace, I guess,” Chang said. “I study a lot at the PCL, and I thought I needed a change of setting to keep the mood up, and with the steel drums going, it’s a great atmosphere.