Isn’t it amazing to see a project come full circle? 

On April 12, 2019 the TPS Foundation surprised Bowsher High Schools band teacher, Alex Karoly with a $10,000 gift from a donor who heard of his desire to start a Steel Drum program.

Bowsher High School has a superb Arts and Music Program and we were thrilled to be able to add to the momentum they are seeing in this area.

We were able to speak with Mr. Karoly about the process from receiving the donation to now. Here is what he had to say:

“Once we received the donation, we went right to work, contacting a steel pan builder and getting him started with building the pans. Typically, when you are forming a steel pan ensemble, you want to make sure that all of the pans are from the same builder so that they have the same ‘timbre’ or tone.

Steve Lawrie, who is very experienced in pan building and is in the Akron, OH region, built our instruments. The pans took about a year to build. At the beginning of 2020, once we received the pans, we formed an after school program for our students. Unfortunately, we only had about two to three practices before the COVID pandemic hit in March of 2020.

This school year, we were able to host steel pan ensemble as a class during the school day, however our learning of the instrument was still slowed as we were learning remotely. During our season of only remote learning, the students had poster board “practice pads” that they could “play” on but “playing” on a paper cut-out is hardly as fun as the real thing. Instead, we focused on the history of the pan and the history of Trinidad and Tobago (the birthplace of the steel pan). Fortunately, while we were remote, we were able to get a faculty group started and so now some of our faculty are experienced in the fun of playing the pan as well! Once TPS went to “yellow” light/hybrid learning, the students and I were glad to finally get to experience the pan in person and the students have been learning exponentially culminating in our first “performance” last Friday (March 26, 2021). As we move forward, Steel Pan has now become an established ensemble at Bowsher and we look forward to serving future students as we recruit for next year!”

Great things happen when passion meets action!

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