Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, the steel pan is making global strides in appeal. The hope is that, similar to its birthplace, steelpan can help change some lives in the urban areas of Belize. Panerrifix Steel Band.
After consultation in a two day workshop with various stakeholders, UNICEF made a donation of 25 steelpan instruments to the National Institute of Culture and History with the understanding that NICH would bring a focus toward training youths from the south side of Belize. This effort tying directly into RESTORE Belize’s focus on fostering social inclusion through a wholistic raft of activities and the Day of Healing Committee’s people powered mandate saw a natural merge of the three organisations on Saturday, November 2 where the Day of Healing 6 was held on the Yarborough Green.
The performance of the Panerrifix Steelband’s junior intermediate and senior groupings from Belmopan was a surprise to many, but was appreciated by all. Diane Haylock, President of NICH took some time from enjoying the pan to explain the dual presence of the band at the day’s event."I think it really great to see so many young people here. We need to have more fields like this that are safe for our children to engage in positive kinds of activities. so for me I think it's a really important activity today." She went on to explain the band was there to give a two hour long performance during which there would be separate steelpan instruments nearby where interested people could actually get some hands-on lessons and if further interested sign up for classes.
After this first recruitment drive which saw some thirty youths being registered, two more sessions were held among the RESTORE Belize’s Scholarship clubs which saw the ranks almost double. A practice space has been found at Bird's Isle and the first class was held on Tuesday 26th November. Apart from just musical classes, some life skills sessions will also take place in an effort to build wholistic individuals rather than people who are just good at playing pan. This focus on social inclusion and engagement was a major part of the approach in using a Days of Healing event for the first recruitment drive
The organisers and instructors are already looking toward the future which has a city wide youth steel pan group performing at next year’s Panyard event in September celebrations. Stay tuned for more information on this steelpan group in the making.