When, where and how did the steel drum become a musical instrument? Learn more about this popular music genre during a performance by the Steel del Sol trio at the Arizona Senior Academy Tuesday (July-31). Open to the public free of charge, the concert begins at 11:30 a.m. in the Great Room in the ASA Building.
This Steel del Sol event will feature David and Tina Walton on the drums and Jeff Rodenkirch on electric upright bass. They will discuss and demonstrate the evolution of the steel drum as an instrument and ensemble in Trinidad and Tobago through performances on African drums, a uniquely Trinidadian ensemble called “Tamboo-Bamboo,” a non-tuned metal implement band and the earliest sound of the first tuned steel drums.
The program will include a mix of Caribbean tunes, American jazz standards, popular pieces and a classical work (or two), all transcribed for the steel drum trio on modern instruments.
David Walton, the founder of Steel del Sol, is the former director of the Empire High School Steel Drum Band, which has performed at the ASA many times. He also was a founding member of the University of Arizona Steel Drum Band program. A percussionist, bassist, composer, and arranger, he currently teaches at the St. Gregory School and publishes sheet music for steel bands under the name of Barking Basslines.
Walton’s wife, Christina Walton, is the assistant band director at Catalina Foothills High School, where she oversees the marching drum line and the steel band program. Both of the Waltons have DMA degrees from the University of Arizona.
The third member of the trio, bassist Jeff Rodenkirch, is an electronics engineer, recording engineer and designer of studio, movie theater and concert hall sound systems, and is currently technical director of the Fox Theater in downtown Tucson.
Written by H. Deon Holt, Academy Village Volunteer