Donation to ASC Music Department purchases steel drums

(03-06-2008)

The Adams State College Music Department's percussion program, recently purchased a set of steel drums, thanks to a generous donation by Carol and Steve Otto.

"I would like to thank the donors for their support and vision to enhance the college and community entertainment and education scene," James Doyle, instructor of music, said. "It is a really generous donation. The potential is now here to turn the percussionist studio into something great."

Carol, administrative assistant for the nursing program, and her husband, Steve Otto, heard Doyle talking about his dream of starting a steel drum band at Adams State College and said they were truly impressed by the passion in his voice and the glint in his eyes.

"His passion inspired us to get involved and help make the steel drums available for Jim and his students," Steve said. "Carol and I feel that if Jim can inspire his students they way he inspired us, his students will be in for an outstanding musical experience. Thanks to Jim Doyle for letting us be a part of his dream."

Doyle said the drums can be used for recruitment, entertainment, and educational value. "The drums are also a good recruiting tool," Doyle said. "The trend in the past ten years has been to include world music ensembles in a program. In many instances, it falls to the percussion area to cover that direction."

Steel drums originated from the island of Trinidad and are currently made from 55 gallon steel barrels. "It is a long tradition at musical expression," he said. "With heat and hammer the bottoms are made with specific pitches."

Over several decades, creating drums has become an art form and the instruments are tuned from basses, up to lead "pans."

Doyle said the drums include six sets, basses, one set of double guitars, a set of double seconds and three lead pans. "We had a builder in Trinidad build the drums for a more traditional sound."

This semester, Doyle has two groups in the percussion program, percussion majors and non-percussion majors. "It is a fantastic instrument to teach," he said. "No experience is necessary to get started playing a pan. If you find a spot in the pan to hit, you have it. It is an opportunity to involve other students, besides music majors, in the music program."

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By Linda Relyea