The Pan Outreach program was founded by Jeremy Kunkel with the financial support of 501(c)3 non-profit Chops, Inc. Jeremy has been involved with Chops, Inc. in varying degrees since 1991. In 2013 Jeremy was approached by Kevin Kimes, a board member of the Chops, Inc. organization, about adding a new music ensemble to the other groups that Chops already offered, and so Pan-Handlers Steel Drum Band was born. Since 2014, Pan-handlers has been entertaining audiences all over the Twin Cities.
After performances Pan-handlers sometimes allowed audience members to try out the steel drum instruments. This usually led to audience members wanting to know how they could take lessons or learn how to play. Thus, the idea of having a “traveling school of pan” started to develop and was brought to the Chops, Inc. board of directors as a proposal for yet another way to follow their mission to provide programs to educate members of all ages in the art of music and performance.
Throughout the school year, the Pan Outreach instruments travel from school to school giving students an opportunity to play pan and learn about the culture from which they came. During the summer those same instruments are used by the Tin Cups ensemble to provide members with limited experience or schedule flexibility an opportunity to perform throughout the Twin Cities in area parades and festivals. Just like the Pan Outreach program, Tin Cups is offered at no cost to people of all ages and experience level.
The Pan-handlers , Pan Outreach, and Tin Cups programs strive to provide all persons with world music educational opportunities and artist development through steel pan instruction and performance. Whether you’re interested in learning, performing, hosting, or volunteering, these programs count on the involvement of people like you. Please contact us with any questions or comments and thank you for your support!
This activity is made possible, in part, by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.