Steel drum Sundays

One day last year, someone handed me a brochure for the MPAA, Maison des Pratiques Artistiques Amateurs. Inside I discovered classes, workshops and performances in music, dance, theater, and art for insanely reasonable prices, making everything accessible to anyone with a desire to learn, with no previous experience required.

An alto steel drum waiting to be played at our first concert last spring. ©Danielle Voirin.

When I saw Steel Drum workshop, October-June, performing three concerts in spring, my whole being lit up and said YES!

And what I’ve found in this weekly class is a group of people from all different backgrounds coming together on Sundays to learn songs on this instrument whose existence and history is proof of the human need for expression and celebration through music.

At rehearsal for our first concert, which combined four different steel-drum groups from around Paris, I found myself in the middle of a group of 70 drummers. As we all started playing those first rolling notes, I was overwhelmed with emotion. It was so powerful to be a participant in creating that huge sound, I had to stop myself from crying. If my eyes filled with tears I wouldn’t be able to see the instrument!



The beautiful tenor drum, also the most challenging to play in bright sunlight. ©Danielle Voirin.

Music can save your life, or just your bad day; listening to it and playing it. The first time I played a steel drum I had to stop myself from laughing out loud, like a kid on a swing for the first time. I was the newest person in the group that day, but I could see everyone was really happy to spend their Sundays together. There’s no indifference to these instruments, you come to them out of pure joy. At least I did.



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