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contrast steel band
Our Story
A journey through time

The contrast Timeline

Contrast Steel Band Sept 1976 001.jpg
Contrast steel band


Gaining recognition

Contrast Steel Band has played a major role in the development of steel pan arts in the city. George and Cy implanted the seed within Leicester schools and now current Contrast manager Pat Munroe has continued to teach the instrument in schools and workshops throughout Leicester and Leicestershire. Contrast were also the first steel band to perform in Rotterdam Carnival ‘Battle of the Drums’ on two occasions and appeared at the first steel pan festival in La Villette, Paris. We have also performed at events such as Pan Explosion, multiple Blockorama’s, and have performed in the National Panorama Steel Band Competition with bands such as Eclipse, London All-Stars, Metronomes and Real Steel. 

contrast steel band
contrast steel band


Reaching Milestones

By 2014, celebrations for the 40th anniversary were well underway. A concert was held to celebrate with the bands nearest and dearest members of the Leicester community and the wider steel pan community. Over the years to come, Contrast was to remain a constant feature in the fabric of the Leicester Caribbean community and grew from strength to strength establishing their internet and social media presence.

contrast steel band
contrast steel band


Humble Beginnings

Contrast Steel Band was established in 1974, through the creative vision of George Fisher with a humble set of pans worth just £265. Shenton Primary School became the first school in Leicester to receive steel pan lessons with Fishers' steel pan tutor Cy Jean-Jacques. Cyprian Cuthbert Jean-Jacques, otherwise known as ‘Cy’, Mr. Jacques’ and ‘Mr. Contrast’. Cy was not only Contrast’s band leader, but also a music tutor with Leicestershire Arts in Education and a gifted musician. Cy emigrated back to St. Kitts and Nevis in 2002 and continued to teach the instruments in schools at home until his passing in 2010.

Pat Munroe

Pat Munroe is a name known by many within Leicester and further afield. She started playing the steel pan at the age of 9 after peeking through a window at her local community centre and seeing Cy Jacques teaching a steel pan class. After leaving school, Pat followed in Cy’s footsteps and began teaching in schools with Leicestershire Schools Music Service (LSMS). In 2007, pat hosted Leicesters first ‘Pan Jam’ to exhibit the pan players from her schools, colleges and LSMS Saturday community bands. This event was extremely successful and the 2nd Pan Jam followed the next year. Pat has now established her own business ‘Panetiquette’ and teaches in schools, carries out workshops and steel pan demonstrations across the city. Through her hard work and efforts within the band and across Leicester, Pat was nominated for, and deservedly won the ‘Education in the Community Award 2004’ sponsored by Unison; The ’25 Years of Service’ from Leicestershire County Council in 2009, and the ‘BAS Outstanding Achievement Award’ in 2008 and is now the Central Regional Representative for the British Association of Steel bands (BAS).

contrast steel band
contrast steel band


Visions of the Future

The future for Contrast sees vast change. 2024 has so far seen the band established as a registered community interest company (CIC). This means that the focus of the band now shifts to; giving back to the community that has supported us for so long, empowering the youth through music and making the steel pan instrument more accessible to those who would normally not have had the opportunity to learn. With each year becoming busier and busier for the band, and now our commitment to the community; Contrast has a busy and fruitful future ahead.

Plans for the bands 50th anniversary this year are underway as well as preparation for future projects. The future is looking bright.

contrast steel band
contrast steel band


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