Miami U. of Ohio joins Steelband for concert

NIU SteelbandThe NIU Steelband will present its 2011 spring concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 17, under the direction of Liam Teague and Cliff Alexis.

The concert, which takes place at School of Music’s Boutell Memorial Concert Hall, also will feature the Miami University (Ohio) Steel Band.

Under the leadership of founder and director Chris Tanner, the Miami University Steel Band was grown from a complement of 10 players and six instruments in 1994 to encompass two separate ensembles with a combined enrollment of more than 60 members and 25 university-owned instruments.

It is one of the most active in the Cincinnati area, performing more than 20 times annually in settings ranging from school outreach programs to guest appearances with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Special guest artist Cornelius Johnson (tenor) will join the NIU Steelband on Puccini’s Nessun Dorma from “Turandot” and E Lucevan le Stelle from “Tosca.”

Johnson quickly has gained attention as an artist in opera, concert and as a recitalist with performances described as “refreshing, sparkling, and exciting.” He made his professional operatic debut in Houston Grand Opera’s production of Porgy and Bess, touring major houses in the United States, as well as the Opera Bastille, in Paris, France; the Teatro alla Scala, in Milan, Italy; and the Bunkamura Theater, with the Tokyo Philharmonic.

The NIU Steelband, started in 1973 by G. Allan O’Connor, who was head of percussion studies in the School of Music at that time, was the first actively performing steel band formed in an American university and has performed throughout the United States and around the world.

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.

For more information, contact Lynn Slater at (815) 753-1546 or via e-mail at lslater@niu.edu.

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