The National Cultural Foundation (NCF) was gifted with a full complement of steel pans to the tune of $25,800 compliments the Massy Foundation.
Already a staunch supporter of steel pan here in Barbados with its well established title sponsorship of Pan Pun de Sand for the past 14 years, Massy, through its Foundation, demonstrated its continued commitment with this recent contribution to further the overall growth and development of the art form. This could lead to increased possibilities of performances on stage during the Crop Over Festival and at other cultural events.
Director of Massy Foundation, Mr. David Neilands, who made the presentation of these musical instruments to the NCF’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mrs. Carol Roberts-Reifer, noted that it was more than just a donation but that it was critical to and at the core of any progression of the NCF’s community programmes in steel pan.
The NCF CEO thanked Massy Foundation for its generous donation and confirmed that these pans would be key to the advancement of the art form and could result in a spike in the formation of more groups in Barbados whose growth has been hampered by the shortage of pans.
The Foundation’s current complement of steel pans only facilitates one, usually centrally located workshop, and this addition of 22 instruments would allow for decentralisation, providing prospective students living in rural communities an opportunity to learn how to play the instrument, Mrs. Roberts-Reifer stated, adding that there is already a very high interest within the rural communities.
To date, the NCF through its developmental programmes in music has successfully provided tuition for the more than 125 students who have attended its steel pan workshops.
The goal of these workshops has always been to increase the penetration of pan groups across the island and to effect this the NCF has often encouraged each graduating class to form a management team, to raise funds for their own pans and to continue as a performing group. Over the years, a number of orchestras have emerged as a result, Tropical Steel, Pantastick, Unity Steel, and the most recent graduating class going under the name ‘De Bajan Steel Orchestra,’ who performed at last year’s special 45th Anniversary NIFCA Gala Living the Legacy.
Mr. Neilands also mentioned that the Massy Foundation was open to the furthering the development of the steel pan community through train-the-trainers’ workshops for tutors, as well as in honing specialised skills such as steel pan tuning and manufacturing.