Columbia Star

1963        Celebrating 60 Years      2023

Local steel band school featured at Jimmy Buffett preshow party

Nearly 20 performers, ages 9–64, from The Steel Band Project, LLC, joined forces with members of the Island Close By Steel Band and J’Ouvert Steel Band at the Colonial Life Arena on February 23, 2010, for the Jimmy Buffett Summerzcool Concert Tour Pre–Party.

Charlotte Broome, a member of the All–Stars said, “It was great to play for the huge crowd, and I loved playing with the kids and the Island Close By guys.”

The Steel Band Project (Dr. Chris Lee, owner) is a new Columbia based learning and performance center where individuals, families, and groups learn the art of playing steel drums and drum sets in a class setting.

While studying the steel bands in Trinidad (the home of the steel drum) in the late 1990s, Dr. Chris Lee observed how community based steel bands were comprised of intergenerational performers.

“Ever since my Caribbean travels, I have wanted to develop a center to promote Trinidad’s music and culture as well as other percussion instruments through performance and outreach experiences,” he says, “This idea is now a reality with The Steel Band Project.”

The Steel Band Project conducts classes for ages 6–adults on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and is located downtown at Washington Street United Methodist Church.

Lee says, “We have classes for all levels, but performers do not need previous experience to start, and we provide the instruments and rehearsal space too.”

All classes are taught by Dr. Chris Lee, D.M.A, who is the principal percussionist of the S.C. Philharmonic, previously taught the USC Palmetto Pans, and founded the Logan Leopard, Eau Claire HS and Satchel Ford Elementary School steel bands.

Reid Sprankle, (age nine) said, “It is very fun to perform with Mom ( Jami Sprankle) in the steel band because we get to play and share great music with cool people!”

To find out more information, visit The Steel Band Project at www.thesteelbandproject. com or call 629-7468.

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