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March 30, 2024
Matanzas High School
Palm Coast, FL
Registration Deadline: March 1

The purpose of the Steel Band Festival is to provide steel band students and directors a positive performance outlet and motivating goal, to share ensemble literature among teachers, to create an event that allows teachers to become more knowledgeable in their craft through clinician contact time, all to ultimately advance the experience of steel band students throughout the State of Florida.

Overview: The focus of this event will be on the performance of steelpan solos and ensembles. Every performance will receive a supportive clinic from this year’s clinician.

Teacher Qualifications: Each director should be a current member of the Florida Music Education Association (FMEA) by March 1.

Student Qualifications: Steel band members must be a part of an elementary or secondary school curriculum either during school or extracurricular.

Performance Time: Each entry will have 20 minutes of performance and a 10-minute clinic. If a band chooses to do sight-reading, they will get an additional 15 minutes in their timeslot to complete the sight-reading process.

Performance Subdivision: Each steel band entry can divide the performance time into smaller ensembles if desired. For example, an entry of 20 can play one song utilizing all 20 students, followed by one song for 10 students, followed by the other 10. For smaller musical selections, directors are encouraged to submit them as separate chamber ensemble entries.

Music selection criteria: Due to the variance in curriculum and class structure, directors should select music that is appropriate and challenging to the students in their classroom. If the music being performed is published, the director must bring the original score for the clinician. This is to assist the clinician in providing useful comments and also to discourage unlawful photocopying. Directors are, of course, able to perform their own unpublished arrangements.

Directors are encouraged to program at least one selection that includes a traditional soca or calypso style including typical engine room instruments.

Sight-Reading: Sight-reading is an optional component in the festival. Sight-reading music will be produced by the Sight Reading Factory and every band will be given unique music. When completing your online application, you will choose from the following options:

  • No Sight-reading
  • Easy Unison
  • Easy Two-Part (treble & bass)
  • Easy Four-Part
  • Challenging Unison
  • Challenging Two-Part (treble & bass)
  • Challenging Four-Part

"Easy" will consist of quarter note and longer note duration with no leaps larger than a 3rd in the key of C and 4/4 time (Level 1 on SRF). "Challenging" will include eighth and sixteenth rhythms with no leaps larger than a 4th in the key of C, F, or G in 4/4, 3/4, or 2/4. (Level 3 on SRF). Bands requesting to sight read will be given an additional 15 minutes in their time slot for sight-reading and feedback from the clinician.

Equipment: Music stands will be provided for each performing group. Performing groups must provide all instruments and instrument stands used in performance, including drum set and engine room. There will be access to electrical outlets.

Entry Fee: $90 per steel band, regardless of size. Each solo or small ensemble entry is $25. Checks are to be made payable to “FMEA,” 402 Office Plaza, Tallahassee, FL 32301-2757. The entry form, generated by the online entry application below, must be printed and signed by the principal and director and mailed along with the check. 

Entry Deadline: The online application must be completed by March 1, and the signed paperwork and check for payment should be postmarked by March 1.

Questions: Fill out the Contact Us page and you will receive a reply from Jared Allen, Festival Coordinator

Steel Band Festival Application

Our clinician for the 2024 Steel Band Festival is Barry Mannette.

Originally from St. James, Trinidad & Tobago, Mannette has a background as a music director, arranger, composer and educator, having also played in Panorama bands since childhood. His involvement in steelpan started from birth as his father was Vernon 'Birdie' Mannette, who was a steelpan tuner, band leader, and composer who let the Invaders Steel Orchestra for over 40 years, and his uncle Ellie Mannette is known worldwide as an iconic steelpan innovator and the "father of the modern steel drum instrument." 

Barry earned a Bachelor in Musical Arts from the University of the West Indies, and a Master's in Music Performance from Northern Illinois University.  He is the founder and proprietor of the Mannette Academy of Music, a school specifically for the steelpan whose purpose is to make music education fun and exciting while creating music-literate pannists for the future.