NIU Steelband to perform at Dixon Theatre

Members of the NIU Steelband perform in August at the Huskies SEE DeKalb event.
Members of the NIU Steelband perform in August at the Huskies SEE DeKalb event.

If you’ve had enough of winter and want to get into a tropical mood without he expense of a plane ticket, join the Dixon Sister Cities Association for a benefit performance by the award-winning NIU Steelband.

The concert is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, at the historic Dixon Theatre.

The NIU Steelband is directed by Liam Teague (head of Steelpan Studies/assistant professor of music) and Clifford Alexis (composer, arranger, tuner and builder).

Started in 1973 by G. Allan O’Connor, who was head of percussion studies in the School of Music at that time, it was the first actively performing steel band formed in an U.S. university and has performed throughout the United States and around the world. Since the introduction of the steel band at NIU, many institutions of learning in the United States have formed their own ensembles.

Over the years, the NIU Steelband has broadened the repertoire and performance venues for this unique musical instrument, including a performance for 18,000 soccer fans in Yankee Stadium, concerts with symphony orchestras (including the St. Louis Symphony and the Chicago Sinfonietta), performances at several Percussive Arts Society International Conventions (PASIC) and two successful tours of Taiwan in 1992 and 1998.

In 2000, the NIU Steelband had the distinction of placing second in the World Steelband Festival in Trinidad, and in 2002 performed the opening concert and several others at the Seoul Drum Festival in Korea.

The NIU Steelband is a 35-member group and is mainly comprised of steelpan and percussion majors. The band performs regularly at public schools, colleges and universities, conventions and arts series concert programs. The band has three recordings to its credit, including its most recent: “Festival of Voices,” a live concert featuring an eclectic blend of musical styles.

NIU is one of the few institutions in the world at which students may pursue music degrees (bachelor’s and master’s) with the steelpan as the major instrument of choice.

Tickets for the concert are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and younger. Tickets are available online or at the Dixon Senior Center, 100 W. Second St. in Dixon.

For more information, call Geoff Vanderlin at (815) 876-7726.

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