Steel drums and calypso rhythms rang throughout the normally quiet Provo City Library on December 16 when the Drum Labs Steel Band performed as a part of a holiday concert series.
Drum Labs Steel band is actually two bands of teenagers formed by Darren Bastian at his studio. A couple hundred people attended, including many children.
Erika Hill is the library’s community relations coordinator, and was on hand to help run the event.
“Our goal is to provide programming so families can come in and do something active at the library,” Hill said. “Its a way to get people into the library, help them see that libraries can be an integral part of their lives and give them something to do with their families.”
Band leader Darren Bastion formed the groups because music jobs were scarce when he finished his doctorate in percussion. He found that steel drum music, which originated in Trinidad and Tobago, had an appeal even in Utah. The packed crowd and dancing children at the library concert demonstrates just that.
“Tonight was our christmas concert and it was awesome,” Bastian said. “We had a full house, a great atmosphere, a lot of people having fun–great crowd. And it just kind of shows how steel drum music is a great live music and it’s really fun to play.”
“Steel drums are like happiness generators,” Bastian said.
Youths in the Pleasant Grove area pay a monthly tuition to be in one of the two bands, Pure Panic or Pancake. Bailey B., a high school student and member of Pure Panic, has been doing percussion for about four years. She needed a private teacher and had a cousin at Bastian’s studio.
“So I went over to there and tried him and I found out that he was doing steel drums,” Bailey said. “And so I got involved in that over the summer, and I’ve just really enjoyed it since then. I’ve just really blossomed in my talent.”
The bands played a variety of music in steel drum style, from Call Me Maybe, to traditional Christmas songs like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Performers seemed to have as much fun as the crowd.
“I thought tonight’s show was awesome!” Bailey said. “I just have so much fun playing this Christmas music; it is just such a blast.”
Erika Hill from the library had wanted people to know that there was more at the library than just books. And judging by this concert, hundreds of people have gotten the message.