Great Lakes Center For The Arts
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Petoskey Steel Drum Band to Perform at Community Open House

Dance along to your favorite Steel Drum Band tunes on July 8 at the Community Open House

The Center is excited to open its doors to the community on July 8 for the Community Open House. Among the list of free performances that day will be the talented, award-winning and widely popular Petoskey Steel Drum Band.

 The Petoskey High School Steel Drum Band has been an active performing group since their formation in 1996, currently under the direction of Barry Bennett with assistance from Patrick Ryan and Duane Willson. Today, there are 45 members in the band, which consists of sophomores, juniors, and seniors.  They have performed throughout the state and the country including at The Epcot Center, Walt Disney World, Chicago Festival of Lights Parade, Mardi Gras in New Orleans (9 times), the Caribbean Islands and Hawaii.  The band also performs actively during the summer months with over 25 performances around the state of Michigan, including the Holland Tulip Festival and the National Cherry Festival. The band has won numerous awards at parades and festivals and was recently selected as the Premiere Band of the 2015 Chicago Festival of Lights Parade.

 A group with so many accomplishments and such a large following must have to work hard to maintain this status. We asked Barry Bennett, Director of the Steel Drum Band, what is expected of the students to be a member. β€œTo be part of the Steel Band takes an amazing amount of dedication and talent. The kids must learn and memorize over 35 tunes each year.  The rehearsals are long and tedious, and the students must also spend countless hours practicing individually at home.” We also asked him what makes the kids excited about what they do, and want to keep doing it. β€œOnce the parts are mastered, the reins are relaxed, and the students are free to create their own choreography to go along with the music. This makes our music not only enjoyable to listen to, but very fun to watch.  Another favorite of the kids is doing parades on the double decker trailer, especially the big parades in New Orleans and Chicago.”

 For those who have seen the group perform, you know how catchy their up-beat, Caribbean percussion is and for those who have not, you are in for a tropical treat!

Join in the fun at the Community Open House on July 8, 2018. Also performing will be the Crooked Tree Arts Center Up North Vocal Institute, Voices Without Borders Little Traverse Youth Choir and The Charlevoix Circle of Arts – The Cummings Quartet and the Dorothy Gerber Strings Program. 

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