Meridian Star

Local News

February 6, 2012

SoMiSPO brings steel drum rhythms to MCC

MERIDIAN —     From calypso to popular to classical to jazz, Meridian Community College’s Arts & Letters Series concert goers are in for more than a tropical treat when SoMiSPO comes to the McCain Theater on Tuesday.

    This University of Southern Mississippi steel pan orchestra concert will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10, adults, $5, students. MCC faculty and staff members are admitted free with their ID card.

    Currently a 30-member band, SoMiSPO was founded by Dr. John Wooten as a six piece ensemble, which included a drum set and percussion. Since its 1994 beginnings, the group has enlarged to feature several different voices in the steel band instrumentation family, including lead pans, double tenors, double seconds, guitar pans, cello pans, tenor bass pans, bass pans, drum set and various percussion instruments known as the “Engine Room.”

    In 2005, SoMiSPO recorded a CD with renowned steel pan artist Andy Narell.

    Most of SoMiSPO’s instruments were created and tuned by Dr. Ellie Mannette, who is known as the “Father of the Steel Drum.” Mannette built the first metal instrument from a 55 gallon drum in 1946 in Port of Spain, Trinidad. The steel drum is the only chromatic acoustical instrument created in the 20th century.

    For ticket information, contact Leia Hill, Arts & Letters Series coordinator, at (601) 484-8696.

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