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Panloco Steel Drum Band

GO Art! to host steel band festival Saturday at City Centre

By Press Release
Submitted photo. 

Press Release:

GO ART! is excited to host the Western New York Steel Band Festival for its second year on Saturday, April 13, at 2:30 p.m., in the Batavia City Centre. Organized by teaching artist and percussionist Ted Canning, the event welcomes everyone to enjoy steel pan bands performing on this instrument developed in Trinidad and Tobago. 

Admission is a $5 suggested donation, and ample parking is available at the City Centre.  The Western New York Steel Band Festival is being presented as part of the activities of GLOW Creatives, a group of 10 artists (including Canning) at GO ART! who received a grant from the Creatives Rebuild New York Artist Employment Program, supported by the Mellon Foundation. 

GO ART! programming is also made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts, which has the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

Doors open at 2 p.m. for the public. Attendees can view a new City Center statue created collaboratively by GLOW Creatives artists Bill Schutt, Dan Butler, and Jill Pettigrew. 

Ithaca College’s IC Steel, Steel Alchemy Community Steelband, Rochester Institute of Technology’s Tiger Steel, Lancaster High School Carnival Kids Steel Orchestra, and Panloco Steelband are featured bands. 

The bands will showcase Caribbean music while also illustrating the many genres and rhythms that steel bands commonly perform. The concert will conclude on a high note with a joint performance of all the bands—about 70 players in all!

Carnival Kids Steel Orchestra was started by John Marone in 1974 and is the third oldest established continuing steel drum program in the United States. The group performs numerous concerts and events annually in the greater Buffalo area, has produced several recordings, and has traveled from Philadelphia, Chicago, Disney World, and Trinidad.

IC Steel was established in the 1990s by percussionist Gordon Stout and continues to offer students the opportunity for a diverse ensemble experience at the college. 

The RIT Tiger Steel band is an ensemble offered through the School of the Performing Arts, a campus-wide initiative to enhance the arts experience for all students. They have represented the university at events off campus and were featured in the 2022 holiday video card for the university. 

Steel Alchemy was formed in 2001 as a community-based band, open to anyone ages 13 and older. With an emphasis on intergenerational group learning, the band performs at town festivals, concert series, and private events throughout the Genesee Valley. 

Established in 1995, Panloco Steelband explores the unique musical qualities of the pan from its traditional Caribbean roots to pop, jazz, classical, and styles from around the world. They perform at private and public events in the region and with international performances in Sicily, Mexico City, and Siena, Italy.

“I’m excited to bring this festival to Batavia again,” says Canning.  “It might be surprising for people to learn that our part of the state has a significant connection to the Trinidadian steel band tradition and its founders, from the groups featured at the festival as well as Paul Ferrette’s Caribbean Extravaganza in Buffalo, Al St. John’s Trinidad and Tobago Steel band in Rochester, and a history of school bands in Rochester, Randolph, Ithaca, Naples, and Dundee. I’m looking forward to sharing this music with our community—it will be a great time!”

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