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Mahopac High School's Steel-Drum Band Heats Things Up at Fulmar Road

Mahopac High School's steel-drum band performs before students at Fulmer Road Elementary School.
Mahopac High School's steel-drum band performs before students at Fulmer Road Elementary School. Photo Credit: Facebook

MAHOPAC, N.Y. -- It may be February, but Mahopac High School’s steel-drum band brought the warmth of the islands to Fulmar Road Elementary School when they performed recently for students.

Bringing a calypso-like feel to songs such as “Brown Eyed Girl” and “Uptown Funk,” the high school musicians delighted the younger students with the drums’ vibrant, melodic beats and their colorful costumes and hats.

While the drums’ complex, percussive melodies sound difficult to execute, Mahopac Middle School/High School music teacher and steel-drum-band teacher/conductor Don Flynn said that the instruments are not that difficult to learn.

“One of the best things about steel drums is their simplicity, which makes them accessible to a variety of students,” said Flynn, who teaches a steel-drum class at the school.

Fulmar Road students couldn’t wait for a turn to guest “conduct” the band, which has been a Mahopac High School tradition for 14 years, according to Flynn.

Originating from Trinidad, steel drums are chromatically pitched percussion instruments, with drums having varying degrees of notes—some as few as three, others as many as 20 or more.

Flynn gave advice to students eager to learn more about the instruments. “Be sure to keep practicing your music, and maybe one day you will be able to play with the steel-drum band in high school!”

The steel-drum band's visit to Fulmar Road was in keeping with the Mahopac Central School District’s emphasis on exposing students to a wide variety of arts programming from kindergarten through high school.

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