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Who We Are

Barrels to Beethoven is dedicated to inspiring youth, engaging communities, and preserving the steelpan through innovative educational programming. We provide engaging, interactive opportunities for our community, especially youth, to learn about the steelpan Рincluding historical context and building technique. The steelpan owes its genesis directly to the Afro-Caribbean people’s systemic oppression over their cultural rituals and lack of access to the traditional instruments of the time. The steel band movement did not begin as just a way for Afro-Caribbean people to make music; it was also a challenge to society and its economically- and culturally- oppressive systems. After the banning of many instrumental art forms and cultural rituals specific to Afro-Caribbean people, the steelpan was developed as a near-perfect representation of a colonized but resilient people, using both rhythm and melodic tones to create music.

Barrels to Beethoven utilizes creative placemaking strategies to build community, engage residents, and present a more positive image of what black art is and where it comes from. We believe music, making, and the arts to be an anchor of community connectedness and vibrancy. In the Caribbean, the steelpan is a means of expression, creativity, innovation, competition, celebration, and connection. As our community learns more about Afro-Caribbean people and the steelpan, they will form a greater connection with their own history and culture, collectively broadening the possibilities for our future.

Our ultimate goal is to provide an impactful option for music and cultural arts education while developing a new generation of steelpan players, builders, tuners, teachers and advocates. The growth and advancement of this musical instrument is ensured by providing opportunities for engagement that meet individuals where they are. Barrels to Beethoven seeks to meet its mission and vision for steelpan preservation through a variety of programs.

Program Offerings and Workshops

We offer a broad range of learning opportunities for folks of all ages, including:

Lessons: Individual, Group, Adult Band, Youth Ensemble

Steelpan in the Classroom: A curriculum developed specifically for ages 8-14 and brought into the classroom. Sessions can be developed for six week or year long courses

Pan camp: A week-long summer camp for youth ages 8-14. During the week children are introduced to the steelpan, taught steelpan technique, the history and culture of the instrument and performance skills. At the end of the week, the camp puts on a performance for family and friends!

Educational Performances

Pan Builders Workshop: An in-depth course on building and tuning the steelpan that will help to develop a newly skilled workforce of builders and tuners.