Trion High Steel Drum Band is world-class
TRION, GA (WRCB)- It's the sound of the islands, coming from an unexpected place, the Trion High School band room. The Steel Drum Band is an after-school ensemble, but it's not as easygoing as it sounds.
Senior Alex Hatley said, "It may not sound hard, but it is. Part of what makes it fun is being challenged musically." Hatley plays clarinet in the school's marching band, but says she has learned an entirely different appreciation for music with the steel drum. Like all of the students, she had to learn her new skills from the beginning.
Senior Aaron Castro, long a percussionist in the marching band, said, "Most of the drum notes are written on the drums, but mine does not. When people first start they don't know what they're doing, or what their notes are, but the more you do it, the better you get. It takes a lot of practice."
The practice has paid off, resulting in numerous awards. Band director Andy Cox says his students enjoy performing near and far, often for audiences who have never heard a high school band of this kind.
The joy of the music is reflected in the performance. The students, in grades 8-12 can be seen swaying to the rhythms. "It's no fun just standing still," Cox said. "There is a sea of movement during the music, it adds to the overall effect and the audiences love it."
Hatley said, "I've never been good at moving and playing music, but I enjoy this. It's part of the challenge, there's more hand-eye coordination, and being able to multi task." She says she plans to attend Jacksonville State University, famed for its outstanding marching band, and now with a growing steel drum program.
Hatley and Castro are among several of the standout musicians who say the Steel Drum Band is about more than just learning a new way of playing music. They know there just might be a future in it.
Percussion director Bobby Crosby, who helped establish the program at Trion in 2005 said, "A lot of colleges now have steel drum bands. It's an up and coming ensemble in college."
Band director Cox is hoping this group's popularity will help build a larger band room to accommodate the steel drums, along with his regular concert and marching bands. There's no doubt these cool sounds are of great benefit to Trion.
Hatley said, "This has done a lot for people's awareness of our school. They say we have an awesome steel band. I'm proud of that because it gives Trion High School a lot of good attention."