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PAS Connecticut Day of Percussion 2003

Part Two


Liam Teague: Steel Drum Clinic
Unfortunately I missed Liam's clinic, which included a musical performance with Jim Royle (President of the PAS Connecticut Chapter) and James Walker (VP of the PAS Connecticut Chapter and also the Mallet Percussion Forum moderator for TigerBill's DrumBeat).

I did, however, get the chance to interview Liam and he discussed his passion for the Steelpan:

TigerBill: How old were you when you first became interested in the Steelpan?
Liam Teague: I started playing Steelpans at 12 years old. The steelpan is the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago, which is where I'm from. The sound is all over the island. My father had a cub scout troop and one of the scouts was a steelpan player. I heard him play and fell in love with the sound and ever since then, I've been captivated by it. So I went to the pan yard and that's where I actually started learning.

TigerBill: A pan yard?
Liam Teague: Yes, a pan yard is a place where most steelpan players go to learn the instrument. Most players are rote musicians, meaning they don't actually read music. I have the best of both worlds because I started as a rote musician and then I got formal music training.

TigerBill: How did you go about turning your talent for steelpan into a career?
Liam Teague: After I started playing the steelpan I began studying the violin and I adapted a lot of the violin repertoire onto the pan. My goal was to show the versatility of the instrument in terms of playing as many styles as possible. I decided I wanted to continue my formal music training and I came to the U.S. in 1992 to attend Northern Illinois University which, at the time, was the only institution in the world where one could get a degree in music, specifically in the steelpan. Today it's one of three places in the world.

I received my bachelors and masters degrees at Northern Illinois University and they employed me as a research scholar and assistant director of the steel band about two and a half years ago. Ever since then I've been playing in different contexts with symphony orchestras, jazz combos, and steel bands showing what can be done on the steelpan.

TigerBill: What's your long term goal?
Liam Teague: Steelpan is the youngest acoustic instrument invented in the 20th century and there are still a lot of people who don't really understand the potential of the instrument. My goal is to show the potential and versatility of the instrument. It's a great passion of mine because whenever I play this instrument I feel like I represent the people of Trinidad and Tobago because this is our national instrument. I hope to keep playing with more symphony orchestras doing concertos and material like that and just keep promoting the steelpan.

End of interview

Liam Teague and Tiger Bill
Liam Teague and Tiger Bill

For more information on Liam, visit his official Web site listed in the sidebar.

Mike Portnoy
I regret that I didn't get the chance to interview Mike but I did get his OK to videotape his performance. So here are some excerpts:

Video Excerpts of Mike PortnoyExclusive Video of Mike Portnoy

Mike Portnoy
Mike Portnoy

Check out the sidebar for more on Mike.

Dom Famularo
Dom's clinic topped off what was a terrific lineup of drummers and percussionists.

What A Gig!
Dom provided a great ending to an all-around great day. My thanks to the host of the Connecticut Day of Percussion, Jim Royle and his crew, for allowing us access to the event. Thanks to all of the artists who allowed us to videotape their performances and a special thanks to Jeremy Tammone for his help backstage. I'd also like to apologize to James Walker, our own Mallet Forum moderator, for missing his performance with Liam Teague and Jim Royle. I was looking forward to posting some video of Jim on the site. Jim, I'll catch you next time!

Until then, stay loose!

Tiger Bill with Jim Royle and James Walker
Tiger Bill with PAS President Jim Royle and VP James Walker

Click the following link for Connecticut PAS Day of Percussion 2003: Part 1!


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PAS Connecticut Day of Percussion 2003: Part 1
Liam Teague
Mike Portnoy
Jim Royle Drum Studio
Nick Petrella
Johnny Rabb