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NIU Steelband Does It Again

Fall 2012 Concert well received

A When Steel Talks Exclusive

DeKalb, Illinois, USA - NIU (Northern Illinois University) Steelband once again showed why it has one of the most successful steelband music programs in the world. Led by Liam Teague and Clifford Alexis, the DeKalb, Illinois-based university has been aggressively at the forefront of producing successful, higher education music experiences revolving around the steelpan instrument for decades.  Come 2013, the NIU Steelband programme celebrates its fortieth year, since it was started by Professor Al O’Connor back in 1973.

NIU Steelband 2012
NIU Steelband

For its Fall 2012 concert program, the NIU Steel Band again provided the world with another live streamed internet performance. Quality live streaming has become the norm from NIU for their steelpan music concerts and students’ steel pan recitals.

The audience was treated to a mixture of popular music, classical pieces and traditional Caribbean hits which demonstrate the full versatility of the family of steelpan instruments and the skillset of the NIU players.

Freddy Harris, III
Freddy Harris, III

It is the custom for the NIU Steel Band to showcase a steelpan artist for their Spring and Fall concerts.  This time, it was the turn of New York’s Freddy Harris, III who wowed the audience and the NIU players looking on during his time in the spotlight.  He was accompanied by  a small ensemble which included renowned percussionist Robert Chappell.  Harris opened up with a soulful rendition of the US anthem ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’  His evening’s repertoire also included a composition by his father Freddie Harris, II - ‘The New Children of the World.’

The concert was officially dedicated to the late legendary steelpan innovator, inventor of the double tenor and more, Bertie Marshall, who was a personal friend of Clifford Alexis, NIU Steel Band’s co-director.  Alexis shared some memories of Marshall and also spoke on the recent passing of another steelpan tuner, Leroy “Ali” Williams.

NIU Steelband
NIU Steelband

The show’s music selections made for a pleasing potpourri which included Adele’s ‘Rolling In the Deep,’ the immortal ‘My Way’ and Santana’s ‘Oye Como Va.’  The steel band musicians also delivered performances of ‘There for You’ arranged by Trinidad’s Khion De Las and ‘It’s Showtime’ interpreted by Barry Mannette, both currently studying at NIU.  For a funky finale, NIU Steelband treated the audience to Len “Boogsie” Sharpe’s ‘Sunday Morning Funk.’

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‘NIU Fall Concert 2012’ - In Pictures