Pan Wizards Steel Orchestra returns from Northwest tour, prepares for August camp in Edmonds

The Pan Wizards Steel Orchestra, Steel Magic Northwest’s premier ensemble, has just returned home and is celebrating the success of its first tour, and is now inviting registrations for its August intensive camp, set for Aug. 12-16 in Edmonds.

Steel Magic Northwest is a non-profit music education organization that has a goal of teaching more than just music. According to director Gary Gibson, pan drum students learn, teamwork, leadership and other important life skills in a safe, structured environment. The group’s musical style ranges well beyond the Caribbean influence of the instrument, and has earned the organization acclaim from local and regional educators and music lovers.

A 40-year veteran of pan drums, Gibson has built the organization around enriching the lives of youth through the instrument. “There’s a gentle learning curve with the instrument,” Gibson said. “This is a chromatic-hybrid system. Our players have a wide range of musical experience. Our organization focuses on teaching and development of youth in our organization. Building on player’s experience so everyone learns things at their own pace.”

With a strong 25-year history in the Kent School District, the organization expanded to the Edmonds School District, where it has been active for three years. Earlier in the year, the Pan Wizards Steel Orchestra was invited to the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Northwest Division Conference in Portland, Ore. Building on the group’s successes, a Northwest tour was organized taking the Pan Wizards to Missoula, Mont. and Ellensburg, Walla Walla and the Tri-Cities in Washington state. “It has been exciting to see — two years ago, we had six kids in the Pan Wizards, now there are 30,” Gibson said.

Steel Magic Northwest has three youth performing groups: Steel Mojo, an open-enrollment ensemble for beginners; Pan Dragons, the intermediate, or stepping-stone ensemble; and Pan Wizards Steel Orchestra, the auditioned, invitation-only ensemble. This developmental program offers musical and experiential growth opportunities for youth beginner and intermediate and adult pan players.

This year’s intensive is being held at Edmonds Adventist Church at 8625 – 196th St. S.W., Edmonds. Registration is now open and there is a limit of 24 attendees. The 6th-12th graders meet in an afternoon session from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday, Aug. 12-16, with an informal combined performance at 7:45 p.m. on Friday. Adult classes are held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. daily, concluding with a Friday performance at 8 p.m.

Either class costs $160 for the week’s intensive. The camp is a great way to try out playing in a steel band, or a fun way to reconnect with friends if you’re already in one of Steel Magic Northwest’s other bands.

Registration is now open for Steel Magic Northwest’s “Summer Intensive 2019 at this link:

— By Royce Napolitino


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identify before approving your comment.