The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us


100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024

Release: April 21, 2000

UI, Cornell College steel bands present 'Extravaganza'

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Steel Band Extravaganza, with performers from the University of Iowa and Cornell College, will feature music ranging from traditional Caribbean calypso and Soca to American popular music, all in honor of the Latino "Cinco de Mayo" celebration, at 8 p.m. Friday,
May 5 in Voxman Hall of the Voxman Music Building on the UI campus.

The concert, which will be free and open to the public, will feature two groups from each school: Steel Band II and the Pandemonium Steel Band from Cornell College, directed by Martin Hearne and Tim Shaw; and Steel Band II and the Pan-American Steel Band from the UI, directed by Shaw and Dan Moore.

Originating on the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, the steel pans, or steel drums as they are variously known, are actually 55-gallon oil barrels that have been carefully crafted into tuned musical instruments. These tuned drums have a remarkable timbre that is immediately recognizable as a Caribbean sound. They characteristically play the infectious Calypso, Soca and Reggae music of the West Indies, but their repertoire includes everything from American pop and jazz to arrangements of classical music.

After opening sets by the second-string steel bands from each school, the Cornell College Pandemonium Steel band will play the "Mambo" from Leonard Bernstein's "West Side Story," the familiar Oscar-winning calypso-styled song "Under the Sea" by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken from the Disney movie "The Little Mermaid," "Dingolay" by Jeff Narell, and "Tropical Sunset" by Matt Murphy.

The UI Pan-American Steel Band will play arrangements of Dave Matthews' "Satellite," the traditional "Trinidad Blue Basin," and Christopher Herbert's "Rant and Rave," and "Little Prayer" by the renowned Scottish percussionist Evelyn Glennie.

The concert will culminate with the combined bands playing "Where's My Thing?" by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of the rock band Rush and "My Band" by Ray Holman.

"Cinco de Mayo" (May 5) was originally a celebration of the victory by a Mexican army of Mestizos and Zapotec Indians over French troops at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Although the Mexican army was eventually defeated, the "Batalla de Puebla" became a symbol of Mexican unity and patriotism, and today Cinco de Mayo is considered a date of great importance for Mexican and Chicano communities.

Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on a much larger scale in the United States than it is in Mexico. Over the years it has become a time for fun and dance when people of Mexican descent and other

Latinos celebrate by having parades, mariachi music, folk dancing and other types of festive activities.

"Pandemonium" was formed in 1997 by Martin Hearne, associate professor of music and a Cornell faculty member since 1992. During the 1997-98 school year, a second band was formed and the Calypso Singers were added, directed by Lisa Hearne, Cornell director of choral music. In 1998 the band made its first concert tour, to New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Memphis and St. Louis.

In April 1998 the group released a CD, the 13-track "Six Layers of Shrimp," named after a dish at a New Orleans restaurant. In February-March 1999 Pandemonium and the Calypso Singers were the only band representing the United States at Carnival 1999 in Nice, France, performing in stage and parade venues before crowds of 200,000 to 500,000 people.

More information is available on the band's web site,

Tim Shaw is the guest director of Pandemonium while Martin Hearne is on sabbatical leave. Shaw has been a percussion instructor at Cornell and a graduate teaching assistant at the UI since 1998. Currently pursuing a master's degree in performance at the UI, Shaw is a former percussion instructor for junior and senior high school students in Hattiesburg, Miss., and Birmingham, Ala. As a graduate assistant at the UI he directs the Steel Band II.

Starting as a single volunteer group in 1994, the UI steel band has grown to the point that the percussion area of the UI School of Music now maintains two complete steel bands. The Steel
Band II is open by audition to any student at the UI. It serves as a training ensemble to the UI
Pan-American Steel Band, which consists of percussion majors in the School of Music and other outstanding percussion students. The Pan-American Steel Band performs throughout Iowa.

An internationally known percussionist, composer and teacher, Moore has experience from concert to marching percussion, and from jazz to classical styles. Performing all aspects of percussion, including keyboard percussion, drum set, ethnic and multi-percussion, he is considered a "total percussionist."

Moore joined the UI music faculty in 1995. Only the second full-time professor of percussion at the UI, he succeeded Thomas L. Davis, who taught percussion at the UI for more than 35 years. He is a performing artist for the Yamaha Corporation of America, Sabian Ltd., and Innovative Percussion. He has written for Jazz Player, Sticks and Mallets, and Percussive Notes magazines.

Prior to coming to the UI, Moore taught percussion at Montana State University and completed work for a doctorate in percussion at the University of Kentucky.

For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at