Charlotte’s Web presents Liam Teague & Robert Chappell in Panoramic

A “Panoramic” experience is in store for you this weekend at Mendelssohn Club, 415 N. Church St., hosted by Charlotte’s Web. At 8 p.m., Saturday, May 10, the band Panoramic, featuring steelpan virtuoso Liam Teague and keyboardist/percussionist Robert Chappell, will perform for you. This performance celebrates the release of For Lack of Better Words, a new CD by Teague and Chappell on Rhythmic Union Records, and is also a warm-up for a new recording by the group scheduled for release in the fall.

Panoramic combines contemporary calypso from Trinidad, home of the steelpan, Afro-Cuban and Brazilian beats with original compositions and contemporary Latin jazz standards. Along with Teague and Chappell, members of the group include NIU Percussion Professor Orlando Cotto on congas, Trinidad record producer Wayne Bruno on guitar, Doug Stone on tenor sax, Phil Beale on drum set and Josh Ramos on bass.

Teague and Chappell’s new CD, For Lack of Better Words, demonstrates that the steelpan is capable of so much more than playing lilting melodies on cruise ships or island-themed parties. Combining classical arrangements, highly original works by Chappell and Teague, calypsos from Trinidad, and even 1920’s Ragtime, this CD highlights the lyrical, rhythmic and improvisatory possibilities of the steelpan, possibly the most important acoustic instrument invented in the 20th century. Some original compositions to be performed include “Pan Dingolay,” “The Honeybee” and “Panoraga,” a work that combines steelpan with Indian tabla drums. The CD will be available for sale at the performance.

Last September, the Ministry of Education of Taiwan invited Teague, Chappell and Panoramic to perform three concerts in Taiwan as part of the 15th anniversary celebration of the founding of the Taiwan National Concert Hall. One of the finest concert halls in Asia, the National Concert Hall in Taipei features concerts by international artists from around the world. Panoramic also performed at the Chang-Hwa Cultural Bureau and the Tao-Yuan Cultural Center.

Liam Teague has been hailed as the “Paganini of Pans” by the Woodstock (N.Y.) Times and “a certified virtuoso” by the Chicago Sun-Times. His playing as soloist, in duo recital, and as concerto soloist with symphony orchestra has led to performances in Europe, Asia, North America and the Caribbean. Recognized as a prodigy in his native Trinidad, he was the winner of solo Pan competitions in 1986, 1989 and 1992. He has performed with the Paul Winter Consort, Warren Bernhart and as soloist with steel bands at the University of Illinois, University of Akron, University of Kentucky, University of Wisconsin, Idaho State University, Western Illinois University and Arizona State University. Teague has performed the Jan Bach “Concerto for Steelpan and Orchestra” with the St. Louis Symphony, the Czech National Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphonietta at the Kennedy Center and Orchestra Hall, and many others. The Chicago Tribune says, “If anyone can elevate the steel drum from the beach to the concert hall, it’s Liam Teague.”

Robert Chappell is professor of music at NIU, has toured and recorded with The Paul Winter Consort, Rhythmic Union, and is noted for his compositions that combine musics from different cultures and genres into a new musical totality. Chappell received the Presidential Teaching Professorship Award this year at NIU, the highest teaching honor of the university.

Orlando Cotto joined the percussion faculty at NIU in 2001. He has performed around the world as a concert marimbist and has been co-leader and conguero with one of the East Coast’s most popular salsa bands, The Rumba Club.

Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Tickets are available at Mendelssohn Club, 415 N. Church St., 964-9713; Rockford Area Arts Council, 713 E. State St., 963-6765; The Postal Shoppe, Edgebrook Center, 397-7301; and Tin Whistle, N. Main & Auburn, 963-0270; or by mail with check and SASE, 10928 N. Main, Rockton, IL 61072. For Web information, call 964-2238.

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