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Steel Drum Ensemble Visits Community Arts Center

By PAUL STANSBURY 
Contributing writer
March to the beat of a different drum at this month’sLunch with the Artsevent at the Community Arts Center. On Wednesday, Sept. 20,  a steel drum combo from the Steel Appeal Academy willpresent an exciting musical experience featuring music from around the world.The steel drum and percussion academy is based in Campbellsville, with branches in Elizabethtown and Danville.
The academy was founded by Dr. Chad Floyd, percussion artist, educator, and composer. He currently serves as Associate Professor of Percussion at Campbellsville University.
The group will be performing popular musical styles associated with steel band performance. This music has been described by some as soothing and cheerful, while others characterize steel drums as exciting and brash. Most agree the music is brighter, happier and more upbeat than most other musical sounds.
A steel drum is the skillfully hammered bottom of a 55 gallon oil barrel, with each tuned by hand. A relatively recent music creation, the origin of the steel drum is commonly traced to the Caribbean island of Trinidad. In the early 20th century, players would use a variety of discarded metal objects, including oil drums, to form the first “Iron Bands.” In the 1930s, Winston Simon discovered a dented part of his barrel made an interesting tone. After some experimentation, he hammered four different tones into his drum. He is generally acknowledged as the first person to put a musical note on a steel drum.
In addition to performing, the Steel Appeal group will discuss the history and evolution of the steel drum, manufacturing, tuning and performance techniques, as well as musical concepts such as rhythm, tempo, melody, harmony, timbre, form, and dynamics. Volunteers will be invited to play along with the group.
“Thanks to our corporate sponsor, Stuart Powell Ford Lincoln Mazda, we’re able to offer a reduced rate of $3 for students” says Arts Center Executive Director Niki Kinkade. “We’re excited to welcome students and homeschool families to this event.”
Floyd started his journey with steel drum bands in 2003 at Russell County High School, where he was the assistant band director, searching for something to encourage student participation. He says, “I thought the steel drum was unique and would get the students interested in band.”Even though he had no prior experience with steel drums, his training in percussion allowed him to mount a successful program.
Floyd joined Campbellsville University in 2008. Once again, he established a successful steel drum program. This band performs each fall and spring.
Floyd founded the Steel Appeal Academy in 2015. Starting with 40, enrollment has grown to over 75 students of all ages. The academy offers instruction year-round and includes both private and group lessons for all ages, including adults. Students are grouped based upon experience levels and abilities. Not only does the academy teach steel drumming, but students can get instruction in other percussion instruments and methods.
Performance opportunities are made available for each member throughout the communities.Small group combos as well as larger bands have performed at libraries, school assemblies, proms and even funerals.
For more information, visit steelappeal.org.
IF YOU GO
Lunch with the Arts: Steel Appeal, noon-1 p.m. Wednesday at Community Arts Center; $5 at the door, $3/students
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
ON EXHIBIT
“Horizon: Contemporary Landscape” in the Grand Hall, “Infinity” in Farmers National Bank Gallery, through Nov. 10  and open regular business hours .