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Great Lakes Steelpan Festival returning to Creekside Middle School in Woodstock

Vicki Cummings of McHenry plays during steel band rehearsals Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016 in Woodstock.
Vicki Cummings of McHenry plays during steel band rehearsals Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016 in Woodstock.

The Great Lakes Steelpan Festival is returning to Creekside Middle School in Woodstock, ending with an evening concert at 7 p.m. April 13.

The 2019 Great Lakes Steelpan Festival is the only music festival in the Chicago area specializing in the steelpan, the musical instrument from the Caribbean country of Trinidad and Tobago, also commonly called the steel drum.

This annual event is hosted by the Woodstock based 501(c)(3) organization, Culture, Arts & Music.

The festival will feature local and guest musicians from Wisconsin and Minnesota, along with guest artists coming from as far as London. Guest artists include Sterling Betancourt, Dave Longfellow and Potts & Pans Steelband.

The Great Lakes Steelpan Festival honors some of the legends of the steelpan community. One of the guests, Sterling Betancourt, is one of the original members of the Trinidad All Steel Percussion Orchestra that traveled to London in 1951 to introduce the world to the steelpan.

The festival also will be honoring the memory of Dr. Clifford “Cliff” Alexis and Dr. Elliott “Ellie” Mannette.

Mannette is regarded as the father of the modern-day steelpan and has been a frequent guest of the Great Lakes Steelpan Festival going back to the inaugural year of 2013.

Alexis helped shape the NIU Steelband into one of the most respected steelbands in the world.

The festival is a full day of music culminating in a concert that features all participating musicians and guest artists.

No matter what prior exposure audience members have had to the steelpan, the festival will make every person in the room think a little differently about the instrument and what it is capable of.

For more information about the festival, contact information or to purchase tickets at a reduced price, visit www.steelpanfestival.com.

About Great Lakes
Steelpan Festival

Great Lakes Steelpan Festival was created to fill the void in top-level steelpan performances and educational events in the Midwest.

Imagined by two Midwest pannists, that decided to start GLSF in order to create a closer option for bands like theirs, after meeting in Virginia for a different festival.

The festival is run by local charitable organization, Culture, Arts & Music. Culture, Arts & Music celebrates world diversity, transporting people to different countries through immersive learning experiences.

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