Steelpan Arranger
Marc Brooks - Steelband Arranger
WST Pan Photographer

Marc Brooks

Marc Brooks -
ADLIB, Skiffle (Trinidad & Tobago), New York Pan Stars, Harmony
Panorama Championships
New York -

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Despite having been born in the United States, Marc was able to connect to his parents’ Caribbean heritage through music. Around the age of 11, Marc was introduced to steel pan while watching footage from Trinidad’s carnival performances. He was amazed with the sound of the instrument and by the age of 13, Marc began learning more about the instrument through Sesame Flyers International, a well-known cultural organization located in the heart of the Caribbean community in Brooklyn, New York. Having quickly developed a love for the instrument, he sought to expand his knowledge of steel pan and music by reading theory books and taking advantage of every opportunity to rehearse. By the age of 14, Marc had already joined Sesame Flyers’ stage side band and began teaching the very same pan class that he once was a part of.

Over the years, Marc went on to play with other New York-based bands such as Pan Sonatas, and Steel Sensation where he gained further experience through teaching and helping to lead steel pan workshops in several states. Some of these experiences also included playing under the musical direction of reputable, internationally-known steel band arrangers including Earl Brooks, Sr., Ken “Professor” Philmore, Yohan Popwell, Jit Samaroo and Amrit Samaroo, each of whom provided guidance in the realm of arranging music for steel bands.

In 2007, Marc began a position as a steel pan instructor at The Salvation Army Brooklyn Brownsville Corps, which started off as a summer program. The steel pan program gained the interest of many youth and currently exists as an integral part of both the after-school program and the summer camp. After exposing steel pan and its versatility to other corps, the program has expanded to three other locations of The Salvation Army in the Greater New York area. Because of his passion, leadership abilities, and interpersonal skills, Marc was promoted to lead the Community Engagement Department of the Brownsville location.

In 2010, Marc earned the title of Musical Director of the Brooklyn-based New York Pan Stars Steel Orchestra, which currently remains his home base. He is also one of the musical directors of the Brooklyn Steel Orchestra (BSO), along with Odie Franklin and Kendall Williams. BSO has participated in the America’s Got Talent competition and has also earned 4th place out of 24 orchestras to compete in the International Conference and Panorama, held in Trinidad & Tobago. Through this competition, the trio of BSO musical directors earned a partnership with Skiffle Steel Orchestra based in San Fernando, Trinidad & Tobago, where they currently arrange for the annual Panorama competition in the Large Band category.

Currently, Marc continues to push and support the education of the steel band art form with hopes of bringing the instrument to equal status of the mainstream instruments that we see today. He also hopes to help push American-born Panists to learn more, not only about the history of the instrument, but the culture from which it came. This remains his mission to this day....

An Exclusive When Steel Talks Interview with Marc Brooks

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