If you love the lilting rhythms and sparkly sounds of steel drum music, and Tucsonans certainly do, then mark Tuesday (June 28) at 11:30 a.m. on your calendar when Steel del Sol brings their jazz trio to the Arizona Senior Academy. The musicians, two of whom earned DMA degrees from the University of Arizona, have played major roles in teaching this captivating genre of music in Tucson schools and popularizing it in venues around town.
Steel del Sol’s founder, David Walton, is well known to ASA audiences as the former director of the Empire High School Steel Drum Band, which has performed here many times. Walton was a founding member of the University of Arizona Steel Drum Band program, one of the oldest and most respected in the country. A percussionist, bassist, composer, and arranger, he also publishes sheet music for steel bands under the name of Barking Basslines.
The other members of the trio are Jeff Rodenkirch, a recording engineer, designer of speakers, and bassist; and Walton’s wife, Christina Walton, also a percussionist. As the assistant band director of Catalina Foothills High School, she oversees the marching drum line and the steel band program.
For their ASA performance, the Waltons (playing steel drums) and Rodenkirch (on electric upright bass) will musically trace the history of calypso and take the audience on a tour of Caribbean styles of steel drum music.
Written by Caroline Bates, Academy Village Volunteer