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Professor Daniel Harrison remembers Jimmy Leyden - founder of Calliope′s Children Steel Orchestra

A When Steel Talks Exclusive

by Professor Daniel Harrison

Daniel Harrison: 1975, Memorial Day, Chappaqua New York. Calliope's Children Steel Drum Band on a flatbed truck hauled along the parade route.

Connecticut, USA - ....I attended a Calliope’s Children rehearsal one August evening, and Jimmy put me on a set of four basses to watch and learn from the two bass-pan players: his son, Keith, and Dorie Fuchs, both rising seniors. I was immediately hooked by the physicality—the sheer fun—of playing those big pans, which Keith and Dorie demonstrated with such enthusiasm! But I was also hooked by Jimmy’s inventive arrangements of all kinds of music, which would shortly be featured on the LP, Harvest, that the band put out in 1975. The band’s repertory included everything from a Bach two-part invention (a sweet duet between Larry Fox on lead and Betsy Winchell on cellos) to Ellington’s “Satin Doll” (my favorite as a bass player) to American and European folk tunes to a real road march that featured in the finals of Panorama 1971, “Queen of the Bands.”
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Prof. Harrison,

Thanks for an informative story of your teen years.  When I saw the picture of the bass drums on the flatbed my mind flash backed to an experience I had while walking down a street from Queens General Hospital.  There were these strange non west indians playing our music. Of course I stopped and stared at the flatbed truck until they went over the hill towards Hillside Avenue and out of sight.  I don't remember the year but for some reason that picture remained in my mind.

So good of you to continue in the music area.  Thank you for the little plugs you unknowingly  promoted on behalf of our national instrument of my country, Trinidad and Tobago.  Exposure is what everyone wants but it is sometimes very difficult to bridge the gap that leads to world notarity.  We certainly appreciate you coming forward to let us know of your memories which can equal to many of ours during our lifetime on this blessed earth.

Brenda H.

Brenda, Girl: Yuh is a REAL PAN LOVER and A REAL TRINIDADIAN!!!



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