The unique sound of steel drums and the worldly beat of Ethnic percussion will take the students of Storm Lake High School and their community visitors to the warmer places of the world when the University of Iowa World Percussion Ensemble comes to town to give a performance in connection with Diversity Day on Wednesday, February 2.
The 11 member ensemble, primarily featuring steel and African drums, will perform musical selections from numerous ethnic backgrounds as part of the opening ceremonies for the day. The group typically performs the traditional sounds of the steel bands commonly heard in Trinidad and Tobago, but add a little calypso beat here and a touch of reggae there, along with Chinese and the jungle like sounds of African drums, and the ensemble covers a diverse selection of traditional percussion from around the world.
An extension of the University of Iowa percussion ensemble that began in 1958, the steel percussion band was formed in 1995, with the newest addition being the Afro-Cuban Drum Ensemble, founded in 2000. The ensemble began after Ethnic Percussion Professor James Dreier traveled to Cuba and came back with an enthusiastic excitement for Cuban style drumming. Gaining the interest of students, Dreier was able to start the Afro Cuban ensemble.
Both the Steel Drum and Afro-Cuban groups come together to form the touring percussion ensemble of the University's percussion program. Performing six concerts on the University of Iowa campus per year, the group also takes a two week tour during the spring semester. Dan Moore, Associate Professor of Percussion for the University said that the group's Storm Lake appearance, which is a return performance, is not part of the ensemble's annual tour, but is a"special" mid semester performance for the group. The percussion ensemble is scheduled to play at 8:30 a.m. in the high school gym. The public is invited, and admission is free.