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Originally published in Seasonal Guide, June 27, 2013
Get into the rhythm with FLASH!

FLASH! in the Pans at the Blue Hill Town Park

FLASH! in the Pans in past performance at the Blue Hill Town Park.

Photo by Jonathan Thomas Order prints of selected PBP photos.

Summertime brings a full schedule of concerts by favorite local steel pan band FLASH! In the Pans.

FLASH! does Caribbean music with “Maine style,” said band member Martin Conte.

For nearly 40 years, steel drum music (also known as pan music) has been part of the musical scene on the Blue Hill peninsula. Carl Chase, a resident of Brooksville, originally brought the music to the area and founded Atlantic Clarion Steel Band in 1975, according to the group’s website. In 1990, FLASH! in the Pans Community Steelband was founded.

For those who have never attended a FLASH! performance, Conte says it’s a must-experience for summer.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people and it’s such a surprise to walk to Blue Hill Town Park and all of a sudden you’re in the Caribbean,” he said. “There are 300 or 400 people dancing and 20 or 30 musicians. It’s a thrill.”

These events are as exciting for the performers as they are for the crowd, said Conte, who has been playing pan music since he was 9 years old. “I have a great time, though sometimes it’s hard because I want to be out there dancing,” he said.

Over the course of the summer, regulars attend the show and interact with the performers. “They get to know the soloists, the songs, there’s a lot of back and forth,” said Conte. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Steel drum music can be heard around the Peninsula and even in area schools during the school year. All summer long, FLASH! performs benefit concerts on Monday night. The concerts benefit everything from local libraries and animal shelters to historical societies.