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June 22, 2017

Students learn to play steel drums at summer camp

Everyone can do it. You don’t have to have any musical training. It’s unique and the sound is enthralling, distinct.
— Andrew Paul, camp teacher
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Using 55-gallon steel oil drums and small, wooden mallets, teens create music during a summer camp at Fauquier High School.

Nine teens have learned how to play the Caribbean steel drum summer camp this week at FHS.

For three hours each day, a cacophony of drums erupts in the band room.

Culpeper Middle School student Leah Knott, 14, says she took the camp because, “It sounded fun and I play drums for the school band.”

Leah plays one of the lead drums, responsible for the melody.

The students have already learned how to play “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, a popular song from the movie “The Lion King” in a day and a half.

> Video at bottom of story.

Caribbean steel pans originate from the island of Trinidad and Tobago, but Fauquier’s drums get built in Morgantown, W.Va.

Fauquier High’s band and orchestra teacher, Andrew Paul, started the unique summer camp last year.

“I thought it would be something musically and educationally worthwhile,” Mr. Paul says. “Everyone can do it. You don’t have to have any musical training. It’s something that can get anyone in school involved in music. It’s unique and the sound is enthralling, distinct.”

Mr. Paul has played the steel drums since 2003.

“The sound is just cool,” he says.

The instrument has grown in popularity at the high school over the last four years.

Mr. Paul teaches one Caribbean steel drum elective course at Fauquier High and about two after-school groups.

About 10 high school students involved in the course volunteered to help with this year’s summer camp.

The camp cost $75 per person. Proceeds benefit the FHS “Talons of Steel” pan programs.

Camp participants will hold a concert at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 22 at Fauquier High.

> Click below to watch video of students playing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”

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