Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer
The Stella Maris Steel Band is making preparations to host its 10th anniversary concert. The band, which boasts being the first and only Catholic steel band in the island, has 20 members and, according to band manager Margeret Rhoden, the future should see growth.
The band received its first batch of steel pans from an anonymous Trinidad donor several years ago. Rhoden says what started out as casual music lessons, grew into a professional charity-driven musical band.
"We do work for charity and that is a major part of why we are members of the band. The only challenge is that we don't have steel band tuners in Jamaica, so we have to send to Trinidad to get the pans tuned and that is very expensive. Currently, we can only manage to get them tuned once per year, because it is about US$60 per pan and we have 20 members," Rhoden said.
Rhoden revealed that the band created an avenue for the members to express their love for music.
"The band gives us the opportunity to take part in the music at church and, trust me, that is very gratifying, especially when persons express that they love the music. Some of us had no prior music experience and we can come together and make good music plus our proceeds always go to charity," she said.
The Stella Maris Steel Band anniversary concert is called The Pantastic 10 and will be hosted at the Courtleigh Auditorium on September 29 starting 7 p.m.
Rhoden revealed that the concert will see the band giving patrons a musical showcase of 10 years of growth.
"We will expose where we are now and what we have accomplished in 10 years and display songs from our history," she continued.
"Patrons should turn out to see this because it our way of saying thanks, because we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you," she said.
Tickets to 'Pantasatic 10' cost $1,500, and Rhoden disclosed that they were going fast. Tickets can be purchased at the venue.
The Stella Maris Steel Band has played locally and internationally.
The concert is sponsored by Tru Juice, Calico Jack Rum Punch, Lascelles Limited for wines and Old Mcdonald.
"I would love us to grow even more. It's not something that will happen quickly and I would love to see more steel bands in other Catholic churches and I wish the young people would really make a go of it," was Rhoden's 10th anniversary wish.