School steel bands to perform at Junior Carnival

The talented musicians of the John Gray High School and St. Ignatius School Steel Bands have been confirmed as the musical entertainment at the first ever stand-alone Junior Carnival and Family Fun Day, scheduled for Saturday, 6 May, at the Glass House, a press release said.

This new event has been especially created to provide a safe, fun and artistic environment for school and youth groups to participate in the Cayman Carnival Batabano.

‘We are thrilled that the school bands will be participating in the Junior Carnival Parade as well as providing musical entertainment at the Family Fun Day,’ commented Chair of the Batabano Committee, Donna Myrie-Stephen.

‘Steel pan music is a Caribbean tradition and plays a major role in carnival celebrations throughout the globe, therefore this will be very fitting for our family day of celebrations.

‘The Carnival Committee is committed to support the schools that participate in carnival, therefore we are delighted to be able to make a donation to the school bands and all other school and youth groups that take part,’ she added.

Steel pan music originates from the Trinidad Carnival in the 1930s. Rhythm bands of young men paraded the streets pounding hollow bamboo drums and later metal objects like garbage can lids, automobile parts, pots, pans, and biscuit tins. These became known as ‘steel bands’.

According to carnival legend, in 1942 or 1943, Winston ‘Spree’ Simon was hammering under the surface of his drum when he noticed that pounding created different pitches or notes. He went on to create four distinct notes on his drum. He could now play melody rather than percussion and the steel pan was born. Pans capable of chromatic scales and low-tone bass pans were later developed.

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