Ouachita Baptist University will host the Tiger Steel Drum Ensemble’s first fall concert on Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 8 p.m. in Mabee Fine Art Center’s McBeth Recital Hall. The performance is free and open to the public.
Tiger Steel, directed by Dr. Ryan Lewis, specializes in the performance of calypso and soca (soul/calypso) music from the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago – the birthplace of steel drums – but also performs a wide variety of styles from jazz, pop and rock to classical, funk and Latin.
“Founded in 2013, Tiger Steel is made up of undergraduate students from departments across campus and countries around the world,” Lewis said. “Tiger Steel is open to all students on campus, which gives the ensemble a uniqueness and variety in musicians.”
According to Lewis, “Tiger Steel is a unique ensemble for its commitment to community involvement. Each steel band member mentors a middle school student in the Clark County Boys and Girls Club Steel Band at Goza Middle School who perform beside their student mentors in mass steel band concerts each year.”
In addition to performing steel drum concerts on campus, in public schools and private events, members study the social, historical and cultural context of the instrument, as well as musical aspects such as theory, acoustics, tuning, arranging and composing, Lewis noted.
The Dec. 4 program will include the calypso songs “Jump in the Line” and “Jamaican Farewell” made popular by singer Harry Belafonte, “Suzie” by Ray Holman and “Soca Tatie” by Byron Lee. They also will present the Latin-pop songs “Oye Como Va” by Tito Puente, “I Know You Want Me” by Pitbull and the anonymous steel band standard “El Montuno.” To add some variety, they also will perform “St. Thomas” by jazz legend Sonny Rollins and the classical piano piece “Gymnopedie No. 1” by composer Erik Satie.
The members include: Elizabeth Baker, a senior music performance major from Grapevine, Texas; Aaron Breeding, a freshman instrumental music education major from Springdale, Ark.; Leslie Colbert, a sophomore music major from Beebe, Ark.; Carter Harlan, a sophomore instrumental music education major from Fayetteville, Ark.; Chris Hogan, a junior instrumental music education major from Bartlesville, Okla.; Kristen Liles, a freshman pre-physical therapy major from Whitehouse, Texas; Andre Morman, a freshman education major from Richardson, Texas; Van O’Rorke, a freshman instrumental music education major from Hot Springs, Ark.; John David Whitmore, a junior music major from Rogers, Ark.; Nat Williams, a sophomore music theory and composition major from Little Rock, Ark.; and Cat Williams, a sophomore biology major from Roland, Ark.
Tiger Steel performed their first concert last spring and now presents a campus concert each fall and spring semester, as well as a joint concert with Club Steel from the Boys and Girls Club of Clark County each spring. The joint concert is called Panorama and features both steel bands performing independently and together.
Lewis, assistant professor of percussion, teaches applied percussion, percussion techniques and music history. He directs the Percussion Ensemble, Tiger Drum Line and Tiger Steel Drum Band. Lewis has served on the music faculties of Claflin University, the University of South Carolina and Florida State University.
For more information on Tiger Steel contact Dr. Ryan Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org or (870) 245-5421.
By Molly Anne Turner