Delaware students in TT learning steelpan
By STEPHON NICHOLAS Saturday, January 26 2013
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Professor Harvey Price (front row, left) and his students from the University of Delaware have come to Trinidad to learn the steelpan....
Trinidad and Tobago is the birthplace of steelpan and where better else is there to learn more about this beautiful instrument?
For the third year in a row, a contingent from the University of Delaware has come to Trinidad to play with small band contender, Super Novas, who leads off the action today in the Small Bands category at the national Panorama semi-finals at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of- Spain.
The students, led by Professor Harvey Price, were all in a jubilant mood last week Friday as they experienced part of the phenomenal atmosphere of Carnival during the East Zone steelband preliminaries at the Arima Velodrome. Speaking to Newsday, Price, who has been coming to Trinidad for the past three years, explained the reason behind their visit to this country. “We got here January 1, we study steelpan and History of the Caribbean....We’re studying pan every day up in the SuperNovas panyard in Lopinot. I play in the band and a couple other people from the University but the students are all beginners... January 2 was the first time they ever looked at a pan. This is really the culmination of their pan experience in Trinidad and Tobago,” he declared.
Price noted that steelpan is becoming increasingly popular in the United States but has not yet fully infiltrated the communities there “It’s huge, there are hundreds of bands in the United States – maybe upwards of 500 bands.
It’s been in the US since the mid-1980s, it’s in the junior high schools, lots of universities and lots of colleges. There aren’t too many community bands but mostly universities and elementary schools,” he explained.
The professor noted that he truly enjoys the other Carnival events especially calypso music and revealed that the students are also interested in the historical aspect of Carnival and the Caribbean.
“This is great. I come down every year with the students. We do the calypso and they also study Caribbean History (taught by Rita Pemberton). They’re studying the role of Trinidad and the Caribbean, we also try to do historical things and try to understand how the Caribbean changed in the last 400-500 years and what role they play in the world today,” he explained.
“The students come not knowing anything about Panorama or Carnival or the music.
We don’t really study the music of the Caribbean, it’s just specific to Trinidad,” he concluded.