UCCI hosts steel pan band for kids



UCCI hosts steel pan band for kids

Those passing the University College of the Cayman Islands in the coming weeks may catch a few notes of the celebratory sound of steel pan drifting from the campus. 

A first-ever, three-week children’s camp is planned during the mornings of Aug. 3-21. The camp is open to children 10 and older and there are 24 spots open for those ready to knock out a little Caribbean melody. 

Earl La Pierre, a local musician, is the director of UCCI’s Pandemix band. Normally, he and those musicians, along with some other Cayman players who make up the larger Afropan band, would be traveling to Toronto for the city’s Caribfest, held in August. That’s not possible this year because of the coronavirus. So, instead he’s holding the camp and UCCI is playing host.

La Pierre said he’s hoping to attract some future players for Pandemix. “They’re going to be coming to UCCI at some point,” he said of younger campers. “It would make my job much easier if they knew how to play.”

He said he was encouraged by members in the community to hold the camp. “The parents were saying, ‘What are my kids going to do this summer?’” he said. Steel pan seemed like a good answer.

UCCI music professor Glen Inanga said UCCI is proud to provide the space for La Pierre to teach the young musicians. “It’s very exciting,” Inanga said. “I’m delighted it’s happening.”

UCCI President and CEO Stacy McAfee said she sees the camp as one of the ways the campus can be a community resource. “We’re not running the camp,” McAfee said, “but we’re pleased that we can offer a space to facilitate this type of learning. Steel pan is a part of Cayman culture and it’s a privilege to facilitate opportunities to engender a love of the arts and encourage youth to explore steel pan while building fellowship..” 

The camp will be held outdoors with social distance between the instruments. Students will be required to wear masks in order to enter campus buildings. Organizers said the steel pans and drumsticks, which are provided by the camp, will be regularly sterilized between uses. 

The camp will be led by one instructor and two assistants. The last day is being reserved for a performance by the “campers”. Parents and guardians, as well as members of the public, are welcome to attend.

Water will be provided, but camp organizers are asking that kids come with a snack for mid-session. If that’s not possible, parents should let the organizers know. McAfee said she and her husband are prepared to provide snacks to any students who need them.

The camp will be from 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday. Cost is $375 for the three weeks. To register, email Chambria Dalhouse at chambriadalhouse@gmail.com