A lesson from the Master

Pioneer of steel-drum movement visits students at Clark Montessori

The Cincinnati Enquirer metro, Tuesday, September 25,2001
By Jennifer Mrozowski

It was like having Mozart drop by music class. Students in Clark Montessori’s steel drum band worked on rhythms and coaxing just the right tone from their instruments Monday with one of the pioneers of steel-drum composition. Ray Holman helped develop the steel-drum music movement in his native Trinidad .A handful of Clark Montessori’s students met him during a workshop this summer in West Virginia but on Monday he gave tips on playing steel drums to more than 100 students, said music teacher Bruce Weil, director of the steel-drum band. “It was good”, said steel- drum member Julia Gardiner, 15. “He’s written some of the songs we play so it was really exciting to have the composer here.” Student Carissa Hamman, 15 agreed. “So far we’ve only been able to guess how the music is played”, she said. “Now he can tell us.” The steel-drum band at the Hyde Park school is in its eighth year and has included in its repertoire calypso, pop and Latin tunes. About 110 students this year play in several steel bands at the school.

Mr. Holman said he was impressed at the extent to which Clark Montessori’s music program incorporates the steel drum. “ I don’t think there’s any program anywhere like it in the U.S.,” he said. Mr. Weil said the students were equally impressed with Mr. Holman. “It’s like having Mozart coming in to help with Eine Kleine Nachtmusik,” he said.