WCC Steel Drum Band brings party music to Saturday of festival
by Martha Quetsch
The soothing sound and syncopation of steel pan music is intoxicating, said Waubonsee Community College Steel Drum Band coordinator Gibby Monokoski.
â€œIt has a heavy-base back beat that makes people want to dance,â€ said Monokoski, who is WCC’s music department director.
â€œEven if you’re in a bad mood, it just cheers you up,â€ he said. â€œIt’s fun party music.â€
The WCC Steel Drum Band plays a lot of Caribbean- and African-influenced music, including selections from Paul Simon’s â€œGracelandâ€ album and other covers.
But Monokoski said the band’s sound is not limited to traditional tropical styles.
â€œFor steel pan music, there’s a broad repertoire that includes everything that exists now, including classical, rock and jazz,â€ Monokoski said.
What really makes listeners want to get up and move to the music are bosonova and reggae numbers, he said.
The band’s 10 members play drums of various sizes. Different sized drums produce different sounds, Monokowski said.
Performing at many local festivals and parades, the WCC Steel Drum Band is an entertainment fixture at the annual Corn Boil.
â€œWe’ve played there for 15 years,â€ Monokoski said.
The WCC Steel Drum Band will take the stage from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 25, at the Corn Boil.
The steel drum, or steel pan, originated in the Caribbean island of Trinidad in the 1940s. It is usually played in ensembles called steel bands.
A traditional steel drum is made from the end, and part of the wall, of an oil barrel. The barrel’s end surface is hammered into a concave shape, and several areas are outlined by chiseled grooves. It is heated and tempered, and domes are hammered into the outlined areas; the depth, curvature, and size of each dome determines its pitch.
Melodies, complex accompaniments, and counterpoint can be played with rubber-tipped mallets on a single drum.
Source: Britannica Concise Encyclopedia
Photo: The Waubonsee Steel Drum Band will perform from noon to 2 p.m. Sat., July 25 at the Corn Boil. File Photo