Lion Steel has been part of Leon High School’s outstanding performing arts program since 1990 and is one of the most distinguished high school pan programs in the United States. We are one of only a small number of high schools offering a rigorous 4-year curricular steel band experience. Over the past three decades, our program has grown to include a combined annual enrollment of over 175 students. Our beginning bands are “no experience necessary” classes designed to develop performance skills and music literacy. The intermediate and advanced steel bands require that students pass a performance audition to be enrolled.
The students in every ensemble study and play a variety of types steel band music, including: Trinidadian soca and calypso, Caribbean and American popular music, European art music, and new and expanding repertory of all kinds. It is our educational philosophy that steel band is not only fun for performers and audiences but this art form is also a uniquely vibrant, engaging tool for music literacy and cultural education.
The Lion Steel Band Program is directed by Dr. Kayleen Justus and includes: two/three beginning bands, the intermediate bands – Jouvert and Bacchanal, and our advanced band – Canboulay. Students with playing experience can also participate in the “stage side” gigging band, Pan Groove, which is an extra-curricular small combo group.
Bands in the Lion Steel program regularly perform on- and off-campus in Tallahassee, around the state (Florida Music Educator’s Association conventions and adjudications), and out-of-state at contests and events like the Virginia Beach International Pan Festival. Notably, Lion Steel placed 1st among high schools at the Virginia Beach PanFest in 2012, 2014, and 2016 and won Grand Champion in the latter two years.
The Lion Steel Band Program instruments and rehearsal space also houses the Leon Community Steel Band Program. This community program has two 15-week seasons (Fall and Spring) each year and is open to anyone over 18 years old. Like our Lion Steel beginning band classes at the high school, the community program is designed to develop music literacy and performance skills.
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