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Bequia

Founded in March 2006   • Located in Bequia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

70+ Youth Served ages 6 to 15

100% of youth report that they are learning NEW musical skills!

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"The tradition almost died here. There were no youth interested. Now many kids play. It is good for the tradition. It is good for their minds.” Ravi, father of one of the Kids on Pans

"The steel pan is our national instrument and now our kids appreciate and love to play and perform for people. Almost every function now on the island has one of the kids playing at it.
" -Elvis, previous LI Bequia Teaching Artist


Project Overview

LIBequiaBeachClubMelodywebThe "Kids on Pans" project at Bequia Community High School teaches traditional steel pan drumming. When the program started only one kid on the island was learning to play and now the tradition of steel pan drumming is preserved among many youth! Many of the students now own their own pans, which was a considerable investment and sacrifice for the parents. After years of learning with Elvis, many of the kids are using pans that are not marked with the notes. They now KNOW their notes, which is extremely impressive because there are over 30 individual notes on a pan. The students come from across the small island. Many have been in the program for years. As a group they are talented and LIBegSteelPanCloseupwebdedicated and perform as the group, "Kids on Pans."


Through project students gain:
• Steel Pan drumming skills

• Community performance experience
• Self esteem and confidence
• Cultural awareness and historical knowledge
• Friendship, team work, and leadership skills
• Community Recogintion

Meet a Student

LIBequiaAbbywebLIBequiaDaReefAbbywebAbigail King was only 6 years old when she began learning pan. She now loves the instrument and music so much that before she kneels to pray at night she plays the pan. Abby's parents bought a pan for Abby with the help of other family members. Her pan skills GREATLY improved as a result! Pans are expensive, and the pan cost $1800 + $25 for the sticks. Pans do not come tuned, so LI Bequia helped Abby to pay for her pan to be tuned. Abby is pictured here at age 7 and again at age 9. We love to watch her grow up through the LI Bequia program!

"Abby is so much more confident after learning pan. It is the only thing she is doing that she really loves. I’m glad to see her fuel her energy into something positive."  -Abby’s mom, Glynis King

 
Meet the Teaching Artist
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Elvis Seales is originally from St. Vincent where his father was the first Calypso King (3 times King!). Elvis learned to play steel pan from his older brother. He used to make a living as a street musician in Bequia. Now he is the teacher at the "Kids on Pans" project, and he also teaches private lessons on St. Vincent. He never knew that he was a teacher until this program, and now his primary dedication is to his students.

“The kids call on me for lots of things. I am a mentor to them. They know I care. The steel pan program has changed how people on the island see them. I am very proud. Since the program started, you find kids on steel pan opening basketball games and playing for church events.”  -Elvis Seales, previous Bequia Teaching Artist

Kids On Pans Performed at LEAF Festival October 2013
 
After years of dreaming, The Bequia Kids on Pans and their teaching artist came to perform at LEAF's 37th Festival! The ten young musicians were "Performing Artists" on an international stage, participated in cultural exchanges with local LEAF Schools & Streets kids at Asheville High School, and had the experience of a lifetime on their FIRST trip to the US. Watch the story of their trip here:

 
“The trip to the United States helped me in believing that I can do what ever I want to do musically." -one of the Kids on Pans

Watch the Kids on Pans in Action at Home in Bequia

 
 “Raphaela started pan class in November. She is much more focused since she started learning to play steel pans. She loves it- she does not ever want to miss a day of practice.”  -Mother of Raphaela, one of the Kids on Pans
    Learn about Bequia Culture
     
    The tiny island of Bequia is located in the Grenadine Islands and has a unique, magical charm which is hard to find anywhere else in the Caribbean. With fewer than six thousand inhabitants, it feels like home from the moment you arrive; friendliness is the watchword, and the pace is relaxed and easy-going. A centuries-old dependence on inter-island shipping and trading has meant that Bequians have been eagerly welcoming visitors to their shores for generations. If you find yourself on this magical island, every Thursday night the JUMP UP happens at the Frangipani on the bay. Steel pan bands come into town and the dancing in the sand begins.
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    Project Highlights

    2014
    The kids are invited to have a weekly gig at the Bequia Beach Hotel!

    2013
    Kids on Pans begin learning from new teacher, Errol. THANK YOU to Elvis for all of the years of amazing pan instruction for the kids!

    Kids on Pans performed at October LEAF Festival! Click HERE to see one of their amazing performances on stage!

    2012
    Kids On Pans play holiday concerts: Da Reef, The Almond Tree, and Bequia Beach Hotel.
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    See Kids on Pan:
       New Years Day 2013 Concert,
       Practice and "Tears in Heaven"

    2011
    Elvis celebrated his 50th birthday May 28th! His students gave him a surprise party. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELVIS!!

    Kids on Pans held an “Elvis Seales & his Pupils” Pan Concert at De Reef in Lower Bay Bequia. The intent was to engage the community, give the kids more concert performance experience, and raise awareness and funds for the Kids on Pans teaching program.

    2010 & 2009
    The School Principal received a grant to bring a new program: Pans Against Violence to the island

    2008
    Students start performing around the island during holidays.

    2006
    Program started in March 2006 at the Bequia Community High School

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     Featured Partners

    Gils Pan Shop: The steel pans were handmade in Trinidad at Gils Pan Shop and shipped by boat to the island.

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    Panyard, Inc.: Small Jumbie Jams pans were donated to the program by Panyard, Inc.

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    donate

    Help support Kids on Pans Trip to LEAF Festival!
    LI Bequia Trip's FUNd-raising site

    DONATE $, Costumes, or
    DONATE INSTRUMENTS
    • Pans & Stands
    • Tune the Drums - needed every 6 months at a cost of $1000. There are only two people in the islands that are able to professionally tune drums.

    BECOME a $ SPONSOR
    Sponsors are needed to help fund the year around teaching artists and music program.

    DONATE $20 or MORE to LEAF International and receive our LEAF GO GLOBAL CD.

    All donations are tax-deductible and make  a 100% significant difference now!

    contact: Donate@theLEAF.org

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