Northern Illinois University Press


Steelpan in Education

A History of the Northern Illinois University Steelband

Andrew R. Martin, Ray Funk, and Jeannine Remy

“There are no in-depth historical accounts of any US collegiate steel bands. This is the one that needed to be documented more than any other, and the authors succeed in that endeavor.”
—Brandon Haskett, Saginaw Valley State University

Founded by Al O’Connor in 1973, the steelband program at Northern Illinois University was the first of its kind in the United States. Thanks to the talent and dedication of O'Connor, Cliff Alexis, Liam Teague, Yuko Asada, and a plethora of NIU students and staff members, the program has flourished into one of the most important in the world. Having welcomed a variety of distinguished guest artists and traveled to perform in locales around the US and in Taiwan, Trinidad, and South Korea, the NIU Steelband has achieved international acclaim as a successful and unique university world music program.

This fascinating history of the NIU Steelband traces the evolution of the program and engages with broader issues relating to the development of steelband and world music ensembles in the American university system. In addition to investigating its past, Steelpan in Education looks to the future of the NIU Steelband, exploring how it attracts and trains new generations of elite musicians who continue to push the boundaries of the steelpan. This study will appeal to musicians, music educators, ethnomusicologists, and fans of the NIU Steelband.

November 2017 144 pp., 7x10
ISBN 978-0-87580-778-2
$35.00x Paper

Andrew R. Martin is professor of music at Inver Hills College, where he directs the African music ensemble and steelband. Ray Funk has been a coauthor on several projects, including a history of Invaders Steel Orchestra and a box set on the Calypso Craze. He has published articles on Trinidad calypso, steelpan, and Carnival. Jeannine Remy is a senior lecturer of music at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad. She is an active composer, arranger, and adjudicator in cultural music.

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ISBN: 978-0-87580-778-2
Paper $35.00