Hol­i­day flash­back: Bar­rels to Beethoven

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - Style&Seen -

On the heels of a suc­cess­ful hol­i­day party last month, Bar­rels to Beethoven — an or­ga­ni­za­tion co-founded by Leigh Solomon Pugliano and her hus­band, David Pugliano, that fo­cuses on the preser­va­tion, ed­u­ca­tion and in­no­va­tion of the steel­pan — is launch­ing a new ini­tia­tive: the Wilkins­burg Youth Steel Orches­tra

Fundrais­ing cur­rently is un­der­way for this new orches­tra, which was de­vel­oped to pro­vide a com­pre­hen­sive steel­pan mu­sic pro­gram for chil­dren liv­ing in Wilkins­burg and sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties. The pro­gram will train a class of young peo­ple to be bet­ter mu­si­cians, cre­atives, col­lab­o­ra­tors and cit­i­zens by us­ing a con­tex­tu­ally un­der­ap­pre­ci­ated in­stru­ment and nar­ra­tive.

The pro­gram will also fol­low the tra­di­tional steel­pan cul­ture in the Caribbean that al­lows young peo­ple to de­velop as mu­si­cians through per­for­mance en­sem­bles as a means to pre­serve art and cul­ture and build a sense of com­mu­nity. The pro­gram is de­signed to teach chil­dren to ex­pand their knowl­edge and abil­i­ties un­der the ban­ners of mu­si­cal lit­er­acy, cul­tural and his­tor­i­cal aware­ness, crafts­man­ship and per­sonal de­vel­op­ment. In ad­di­tion to the steel­pan, there will be a fam­ily of in­stru­ments sim­i­lar to the string or wind fam­ily so the en­tire orches­tra will be com­prised of in­stru­ments in the steel drum fam­ily.

“The steel­pan has had such a pos­i­tive im­pact on my life and the lives of so of many youth around the world,” said Ms. Pugliano. “The in­stru­ment im­pacts both the player and the au­di­ence and builds self con­fi­dence through the de­vel­op­ment of skills, tech­nique and per­for­mance. In ad­di­tion, youth steel bands help to con­nect peo­ple and build com­mu­nity. The youth in WYSO will gain pride as they rep­re­sent their neigh­bor­hood through con­certs and per­for­mances around the re­gion and be­yond.”

She also be­lieves that it is ex­tremely im­por­tant for ev­ery­one to have op­por­tu­ni­ties for cre­ative ex­pres­sion. “I find it to be even more im­pact­ful when we learn and cre­ate as a group. As we know, arts ed­u­ca­tion is es­pe­cially im­por­tant for youth, chil­dren and youth who par­tic­i­pate in our steel­pan ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams gain the per­sonal, so­cial, emo­tional, and ed­u­ca­tional as­sets needed to sup­port healthy de­vel­op­ment, in­crease well­be­ing, build self-es­teem, and fa­cil­i­tate a suc­cess­ful tran­si­tion through child­hood, ado­les­cence, and into adult­hood,” she added.

The hope is that this pro­gram will be the foun­da­tion for com­mu­nity youth steel or­ches­tras through­out the Pitts­burgh re­gion which di­rectly aligns with the mis­sion to pro­vide im­pact­ful cul­tural arts pro­gram­ming as well as de­velop a new gen­er­a­tion of steel­pan play­ers, teach­ers, builders, and tuners, along with teach­ing more peo­ple about the his­tory of the steel­pan and pre­serve the sto­ries of the AfroCaribbean peo­ple who de­vel­oped it.

The pro­gram needs to raise $100,000 to pur­chase the in­stru­ments and op­er­ate for the first year. The orches­tra will re­hearse once a week at the Bar­rels to Beethoven ed­u­ca­tion space in Wilkins­burg at Com­mu­nity Forge. To learn more about this blos­som­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion visit: https://bar­rel­sto­beethoven.com/.

#TheSuc­cess: Bar­rels to Beethoven cel­e­brated all the good work the or­ga­ni­za­tion has been do­ing at a hol­i­day party Dec. 20 at Com­mu­nity Forge. Guests played the pans, en­joyed light bites and drinks while so­cial­iz­ing with fam­ily and friends. “The hol­i­day party was a won­der­ful way to thank the in­di­vid­u­als and or­ga­ni­za­tions that sup­port our work. It was a beau­ti­ful evening,” Ms. Pugliano said.

#SEEN: Al­ice and Chad Bar­nett, Al­le­gra Bat­tle, Elaine and Larry Lucci, Aye­sha Scott, Al­bert Cheng, Za­heen Hus­sain, Maria and Joseph Pugliano, Amy and Brett Staggs.

Stella Pugliano plays the steel­pan.

Michael M. San­ti­ago/Post-Gazette pho­tos

Sofia Pugliano plays the steel­pan, cen­ter, along with brothers Zosha Nowe, left, and Ziah Nowe, right.

Kairi Brad­shaw-Wa­ters plays the steel­pan.

Bar­rels to Beethoven stu­dents per­form.

Bar­rels to Beethoven stu­dents per­form.

Ce­celia Pugliano plays the steel­pan.

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