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!
"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
The "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 dedicated and perform as the group, "Kids on Pans."
• 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
Abigail 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
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
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:
Watch the Kids on Pans in Action at Home in Bequia