Hooked on Steel Drums

I’ve listened to hundreds of people tell me how they started playing steel drums.  Some got their first listen on a cruise ship, some are Parrot Heads, and others were reluctantly dragged to a friend’s steel band concert.  What’s funny is that they all end the same way, "…and then I was hooked!"  I think almost every pan performer has one of these moments they realize that there is nothing else they’d rather be playing.

I first heard steel drums when I was in high school.  I brought my tape (yes, a cassette tape) in to my drum teacher, Keith Ewer, to find out what it was.  I’d never heard of steel drums, but started doing some research.  I got catalogues from Panyard and drooled over them for some time, but didn’t have nearly enough money to purchase a drum at that time.  Eventually, I headed off to college, where I spent my time honing my percussion craft.  

It wasn’t until several years later that I went to see Holly Dowdle’s senior percussion recital, where she performed a piece along with Don Prorak.  At the time, I was pretty burned out from five grueling years as a music major.  I remember so vividly sitting there and listening to them play Bahia Girl and deciding on the spot that this was my next adventure!  I knew right then, I was hooked!  

I’d love to hear your first experiences with steel pan. Send me an email and tell me your story, how did you get hooked on steel drums?

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