We guarantee you didn’t have a group like this in high school. And you won’t find one at any other college either. “We’re the only group in the country that does what we do,” says Ivy Paul, a senior cultural anthropology major from Quincy, Ill.
The group plays on steel pan drums, which originated in Trinidad and Tobago. They do play Caribbean music, but they don’t limit themselves to that genre. Some of their favorite concerts in the last few years have sprung from disco music and the song “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. “We’re one the most creative music groups on campus,” says Paul.
Many of the Flying Pans aren’t music majors, and none come in knowing how to play steel pan. The group takes anyone willing to learn, and Director Stan Dahl, assistant professor of music, teaches them all how to play each kind of drum. “Stan is really awesome. He’s our best friend,” says Laura Burns, a junior chemistry major from Des Moines. She wasn’t a percussionist in high school, but when she saw people playing steel pan for the first time, her reaction was immediate: “I’ve got to play these.”
The Flying Pans are known for their theatrical performances, complete with costumes, lights and visual aids. “You wouldn’t know it, but all of us are pretty introverted,” says Paul. “The group has really brought out my confidence.”