US – It all began with a steel saucer sled.
Kansas native Gary Gibson was 12 years old when his father took him to a parade with the U.S. Navy steel band.
“I just fell in love with the sound,” he said.
Once he came home, he picked up his old steel saucer sled, took his father’s hammer and molded the sled. He was able to make four discernible notes. It was the beginning of his life-long career in steelpan music.
Since then, Gibson obtained a real steelpan drum and continued playing and studying the instrument. He received his master’s degree in music performance, but also studied composition and orchestration at Cornish College.
Gibson has recorded five critically acclaimed albums of original progressive music featuring steelpan; won twoof three categories of Trinidad’s “Symphony & Steel” composition contest; and is a national champion of Trinidad’s “Panorama National Steel Band Championship.”
He is known internationally as a clinician and concert/recording artist, and he makes numerous trips each year to adjudicate at steel band festivals or be a guest concert artist with college and high school steel band groups around the country.
To further his passion for steelpan music, Gibson formed Steel Magic Northwest in 2014. Steel Magic Northwest is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing after-school steel band to area youth in Edmonds and Kent. Students start as early as fifth grade. Since 2014, the group has about 85 students ranging from fifth grade through high school.