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America

Published on April 6th, 2015 | by Daily Journal Online

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Pantheon Steel keeps the beat with new handpan

As the founder of Pantheon Steel, it is only natural that Kyle Cox has always had a love affair with steel drums. First as a student and then as a designer, Cox with his business partner and co-founder, Jim Dusin, has revolutionized the steel pan industry. “When I went to University of Southern Mississippi for a scholarship performance, I attended a steel drum concert and I was hooked,” Cox said. “I was so captivated by what I heard. I knew I wanted to do something with steel pans.”

The first thing Cox did when he started Southern Miss as a music major studying percussion was to sign up for steel drums. “It was the only thing that I signed up for that wasn’t part of my regular classes,” Cox said. “It was an elective.” While in college, Cox took a summer internship with Coyle Steel Drums to learn how to make the instrument he was passionate about. Upon graduation, the percussionist would work for the steel drum company for about four years before he moved back to Farmington to start Pantheon Steel in 2004.

Cox was introduced to Dusin in 2005 and began a partnership that is the backbone of the company to this day. “When we met, I was already making traditional Trinidadian steel pans,” Cox said. “Jim had a lot of good ideas on how to improve how I was making the pans, and I was not married to the idea or the romance that something had to be hand-crafted.” Instead of continuing to make the traditional Trinidadian steel pan, Cox and Dusin made the move in 2007 to begin the manufacturing of a handheld pan after a company in Switzerland, Pan Art, began making the instrument based upon a simple request from a customer.  “I had found out about an instrument called the Hang Drum,” Cox said. “Pan Art made the first one in 1999 or 2000 when a customer who needed his steel drum tuned asked if they ever considered making a handheld steel drum.”

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