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Knights of Steel band steals the night

Claire Sanford

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Photo by Seren Villwock.

The small Fine Arts Theatre was filled to the brim on Oct. 29th with standing room only for audience members coming to see the first Knights of Steel concert of the year. For beginning steel drum players and new Samba Group, this was the first concert.

Knights of Steel director Matt Ehlers said he was excited for this concert and for all the new experiences. The beginning steel drums class learned the music and technique quickly, making this concert an exciting time for the new musicians.

“The new students have picked it up fairly quickly,” Ehlers said. “The toughest thing is that the students who have never been in a musical ensemble had to learn to read, listen and play, but all the bands are doing well.”

In addition to steel drums, McCallum has a new Brazilian Samba Group this year, and this concert is the first time they have ever performed. Ehlers said they have been playing with new instruments from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, that the school received last July.

“We have a partnership with the Austin Samba School and their instructor came with dancers, so everyone was up dancing while we were drumming,” Ehlers said.

Junior Abby Nirenberg is a beginning steel drums player and said she has loved learning how to play.

“It’s been really fun,” Nirenberg said. “I’ve never played an instrument before so it was hard at first, but now it’s easier that I’m getting the hang of it.”

Nirenberg said learning to read music was one of the toughest challenges, but just like anything, it has gotten easier with practice. Nirenberg also said she was nervous about performing in front of all of the other bands but ended up really appreciating the support she got from them.

For the first time this year, everyone dressed up for Halloween. Ehlers debuted a Teenage Ninja Turtles costume, which was a treat for all the students.

“It was really exciting,” Ehlers said. “Mine was a surprise.”

Nirenberg said wearing costumes made the night fun and festive and also helped her ease up a little for her first concert.

“Dressing up in costumes helped everyone relax and made the atmosphere more comfortable,” Nirenberg said. “It was a really amazing experience.”

 

Photos by Mary Stites.

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Knights of Steel band steals the night