Iowa Steel Bands drumming into town

On Thursday night, the Iowa Steel Bands will perform a mixture of traditional and pop music on bowl-shaped, or steel, drums.

Haley Triem, Arts Reporter

Thursday at 7:30 p.m., the Iowa Steel Bands will perform a selection of percussive steel drum pieces in Voxman.

“We will have three steel bands performing this Thursday,” Visiting Assistant Professor Ben Yancey, the director of the steel bands performing, said in an email to The Daily Iowan. “There’s PanIC [a nonstudent band of members of the community], the All University Steel Band [a beginning band open to all majors], and the Intermediate Steel Band [a more advanced band made up of primarily music majors].”

Steel bands are associated with various countries and Latin American cultures; many in the U.S. have likely not experienced a steel band before. The Iowa Steel Bands seek to change that.

“I believe this concert will give the audience an opportunity to experience another culture through music,” Yancey said. “We do our best to perform at a high level while maintaining a fun atmosphere. For most people, their first steel-band concert is quite the unique and memorable experience.”

The bands are open to members of the community and college students, whether or not they are experienced musicians.

“For those considering joining a band, there are countless benefits,” Yancey said. “There is of course the aforementioned experiencing of Trinidadian culture, but there are also benefits to musicianship such as improved rhythmic perception and ear training. We have many nonpercussionists in the bands who do quite well, and it’s very rewarding to see their understanding of rhythm and syncopation improve over time.”

The social community that is built with steel-band performance is arguably just as rewarding as the musical knowledge.

“Steel-band concerts and rehearsals are inherently a social event,” Yancey said. “The sense of community is at the core of the group and is key to their success. Belonging to such a community can be very rewarding, and you learn an instrument at the same time. I strongly encourage anyone that is considering joining a band to at least try it out.”

Whether people are interested in participating in the steel band or not, they will likely enjoy the performance of the Iowa Steel Bands tonight.

“The bands have been working very hard this semester to put on a great show,” Yancey said. “ ‘Year for Love’ is one of the most challenging pieces ever written for steel band, so you won’t be given many opportunities to hear it performed live. Come on out, and support your fellow students.”

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