For more than 40 years, Northern Illinois University has been home to the world-famous NIU Steelband, and they will perform at 3 p.m. on Sunday, November 19 in Boutell Memorial Concert Hall in the NIU Music Building.

Northern Illinois University Press has released a book about the steelband titled, “Steelpan in Education: A History of the Northern Illinois University Steelband.”  Authors Andrew Martin, Ray Funk and Jeannine Remy will conduct a reading prior to the November 19 concert and a book signing after the performance.

The reading will take place at 1 p.m., followed by a masterclass for invited K-12 students at 2 p.m.  The concert begins at 3 p.m. and will be followed by the book signing.  The reading and concert are free of charge, and copies of the book will be available for purchase.

About the concert: The program consists of an eclectic blend of music that includes classical, calypso, pop, and pieces from China and Japan.

Video: The NIU Steelband performs “Rumble in the Jungle” at a concert from spring 2017

Steelband bookAbout the book: Founded by Al O’Connor in 1973, the steelpan program at NIU was the first of its kind in the United States.  Through the dedication of O’Connor, recently retired Cliff Alexis, Head of Steelpan Studies/Professor of Music Liam Teague and Music Instrument Technician Yuko Asada, as well as a plethora of talented 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 performed in locales around the United States and in Taiwan, Trinidad and South Korea, the NIU Steelband has achieved international acclaim as a successful and unique world music program.

The 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.

About the authors: 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.