U.S. Navy Steel Band on top of the San Juan, Puerto Rico Hilton; photograph courtesy of Andrew R. Martin

U.S. Navy Steel Band on top of the San Juan, Puerto Rico Hilton (detail); photograph courtesy of Andrew R. Martin

June 5, 2019
6–7:30 p.m.
Williams Research Center
410 Chartres Street
Admission is $10; $5 for THNOC members; and free for Caillot Circle, Jackson Society, Laussat Society, and Bienville Circle members.
Register now!

In the 1950s, a US Navy admiral stationed in Puerto Rico dreamed of growing the popularity of Caribbean music among stateside Americans. The US Navy Steel Band, formed in 1957 by Admiral Daniel V. Gallery, eventually performed more than 20,000 concerts worldwide before disbanding in 1999. In 1973, the band moved from its original headquarters in Puerto Rico to New Orleans and became an integral part of both the local and national music scene.

On Wednesday, June 5, a steelband will play arrangements made by the US Navy Steel Band at THNOC. Under the guidance of Andrew R. Martin, professor of music at Inver Hills College, the group will explore the steel drum as a musical instrument and its repertoire.

Martin is the author of Steelpan Ambassadors: The US Navy Steel Band, 1957–1999 (University Press of Mississippi). His research is centered on the theory and analysis of American popular music, as well as various aspects of Afro-Caribbean music and its phenomenal dissemination throughout North America and the globe. His chief focus investigates the development of Trinidadian steel bands and pannists outside of Trinidad and Tobago. Since 2011, Martin has written a semiregular newspaper column, “Pan Worldwide,” for the Trinidad Guardian.

This event is presented in conjunction with the exhibition New Orleans Medley: Sounds of the City