CORNFIELD TRIBAGONIANS. The Northern Illinois University Steel Band celebrated thirty years with a fantastic concert last Sunday. The things you learn. At one time, the only music program with an area of concentration in steel pan was Northern Illinois University. Sunday's concert showed off what the instrument is capable of doing. (Consider the slow movement of Beethoven's First Symphony arranged for steel drums. Imagine the world's largest music box. Pretty cool, actually. And if you don't have an oboe player and you want to do part of Respighi's Pines of Rome, find a clarinet player -- the arranger wanted to keep that wind solo that unifies the middle part, before the Roman Legions trample all over everything.) The concert gave the university the opportunity to thank Lester Trilla, president of the Trilla Steel Drum firm, for yeoman support over the years. (Economics aside: steel tariffs might play well with steel workers, and steel manufacturers, but not so well with people who use steel, say, to make drums for music or for solvents.)
As an extra treat, David Rudder, honored by the Caribbean Hall of Fame, sang with a little help from the University, including singers. Great way to spend an afternoon.