Steel Yourself – it’s Christmas!

A steel band isn’t just for the summer!

It seemed slightly incongruous, on a cold December evening, to be heading off to Norwood, London, to listen to a steel band – well a steel orchestra to be precise! Shouldn’t I be wearing cool Caribbean garb instead of winter clothes?

The BT Melodians
Steelpan “ambassador” Terry Noel, set up the orchestra, the BT Melodians 23 years ago. Since then the orchestra has played all over the world, frequently for high-ranking dignitaries (QE2 for example!), prime ministers, at embassies and for the public too. In the summer the Melodians engagement’s included playing a concert with an army band, at Kneller Hall in Twickenham, the home to the Royal Military School of Music.

Tonight the orchestra was performing for the Mayor of Lambeth, The Chief Inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service, The High Commissioner for Trinidad and Tobago and me, oh yes, and other people too! It was the annual awards concert and prize giving. With everyone rehearsing twice a week, the players in this 30-piece orchestra certainly deserve their accolades.

The Melodians have a large and varied repertoire so could be considered for year-round entertainment and not just summer events. They’ve a great mix of classical and more contemporary tunes too.  You can book  a smaller version of the orchestra – a minimum of  six players – not everyone has the space, or budget, to accommodate 30 performers with nearly 60 pans, drums and percussion!

The program this evening was fab and I particularly loved the appropriately seasonal tune, Troika, by Prokofiev – you will certainly recognise the music if you give it a listen, I’m sure! I can just imagine the lovely glistening snowy Russian scene, with the horses towing their colourful sledges (or Troika’s) , with jingling bells – ahhhh…

Later in the programme, rousing and exciting us was a super version of Khachaturian’s Sabre Dance. Then there was a cool laid-back version of The Beatles iconic Something and a Spyro Gyra, jazzy moment with Morning Dance. Lots more too…

A truly splendid evening and well done to Sarah – most improved player; Molly – most promising player; best attendance – Richard and player of the year – Nicole. But as Karen said, on behalf of the orchestra, biggest thanks must go to Terry for his inspiration and 23 years of dedication – go Terry! I’m sure we’ll be seeing the BT Melodians at the 2012 Olympics but if you’d like to book them before that please let me know! BT Melodians, you rock!

Seasons greetings to all x

Caroline

StarTurn –  making good times great times

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