Vanderbilt steel drum bands to share the stage with Nashville middle schoolers in collaborative event on April 14

Steel 'Dores
The Steel ‘Dores rehearse for their April 14 concert event.

The exotic musical sounds of the Caribbean will ring in Ingram Hall on Sunday, April 14, as Blair School of Music presents the acclaimed Vanderbilt Steel ‘Dores Steel Drum Band and special guest musicians from the DuPont Hadley Middle School. College musicians and 7th and 8th grade students will perform together in a unique collaborative concert.

For Mat Britain, the director of the Steel ‘Dores Steel Drum Program, the event is one that has been long in the making. “I’ve known Nathaniel for five years and we share a love for steel drum education. The collaboration concert idea came about when we were both attending an educators conference in Iowa more than a year ago. My collegiate steel drum students are excited to hear a middle school steel band.”

The DuPont Hadley Middle School program was founded when it received a $10,000 Mockingbird Foundation Grant in 2020, which was used to purchase steel pan instruments. “It has been a dream of mine to start a middle school steel band in Tennessee since I graduated with my teaching degree,” said Nathaniel O’Neal, the director of the DuPont Hadley program. “Ours is the only steel band in Metro Nashville Public Schools.”

The Steel Dores’ and DuPont Hadley ensembles will each perform standalone selections in the concert, before joining forces to perform side-by-side. The evening will also feature three additional Vanderbilt student steel pan ensembles, as well as two bands from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, composed entirely of members over age 50. In all, nearly 100 performers will take the stage, ranging in age from early teens to mid-80s.

Sunday, April 14, 7:30 p.m., Ingram Hall
Free to attend with tickets required. Reserve tickets

Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music, 2400 Blakemore Ave.
* Free parking is available in the Vanderbilt West Garage on Childrens Way.