The University of Arizona Steel Band

On April 23, 2006 at 3:00 p.m. at The University of Arizona School of Music Bldg, Crowder Hall, The University of Arizona Steel Band, directed by Mike Sammons, presented their annual spring concert featuring guest jazz artist Ray Holman from Trinidad, West Indies. In this concert, Holman, commonly known as "The Mozart of Pan," performed as pan soloist with the UA Steel Bands on several of his newly released compositions, including "Changing Time," "Waltz for Iris," "Playa Larga" and "Hangin' in There". He was also featured with a jazz combo improvising on pan, guitar, and as a vocalist.

Mike Sammons is in his fourth year as the director of the UA Steel Band program and is a doctoral graduate teaching assistant in the UA School of Music. The steel band program was founded in 1987 by professor Gary Cook and then doctoral student, Jeannine Remy, who now teaches at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad. Born from a small group of Remy’s personal steel drums, the band now has over 50 instruments and attracts student performers from all around the university campus.

The UA Steel Band program is comprised of three steel bands, each of which performed selections in the concert. In addition, the UA Steel Band was celebrating the release of their third CD, "Panstraction," which is now available. Selections from the CD were also featured in the concert, including "The Hammer" by Cliff Alexis and "Blue Rondo a la Turk" by Dave Brubeck.

The UA Steel Bands are dedicated to the preservation and expansion of the steel pan art form. The bands play many styles of music, several with Caribbean roots of soca, calypso, and reggae as well as classical, contemporary, jazz, pop, and a variety of other styles. The program is primarily self-supported through public and private performances and CD sales. All proceeds earned go directly toward instrument purchase, maintenance and tuning, music for the library, support for recording projects and travel, and sponsoring guest artists, such as Ray Holman.