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Published on October 26th, 2017 | by The Trinidad Guardian

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Peace Steelband shines a light in the troubled Middle East Peace

The instructor of the Peace Drums Project steelbands is San Fernando’s own Briele Scott, who recently returned to Israel for her second term of directing this unique music ensemble of secondary school kids. In only a few short years of existence, the Peace Drums Project has performed with the Haifa Symphony, toured the United States, and is gearing up for a tour to Vienna, Austria.

The whole idea for the Peace Drums Project started, strangely enough, in Delaware where professor Harvey Price, director of Percussion Studies at the University of Delaware, had a vision. His vision was based on the tried and true idea that music brings people together, so why not use it to promote peace in the Middle East. Not through political diplomacy, but through musical diplomacy of steelpan. “Teaching musical composition, improvisation, form, theory and performing skills to any group of people brings into focus a shared human identity,” notes Price. Music is a universal language and he hoped steelband could be a catalyst for starting a new dialogue.

Price’s idea marinated for a time and the Peace Drums Project did not get off the ground until he presented his vision to the Delaware Churches for Middle East Peace about five years ago. With their support, backing for the Peace Drums Project expanded to a coalition including rabbis at local synagogues and more recently to the area’s Muslim community. Price initially targeted two schools in the Haifa area and the program has now expanded to three schools. Through the work of Price and the coalition of supporters, two sets of steelpans for ten players were delivered. To those who know Harvey Price, it came as little surprise that he would dedicate his boundless energy, curiosity, and devotion to music and arts to the Peace Drums Project. Price is a career percussionist and music educator who has run a steelband at the University of Delaware since 1999. He is a serious student of steelpan and over the years he has brought several groups of his University of Delaware Study Abroad students down to experience Carnival and perform with steelbands in Trinidad such as Supernovas.

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