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John Marshall Students Meet Steel Musicians

Story from The Intelligencer Wheeling News-Register by Drew Parker

Young musicians experienced new cultures and performance styles at John Marshall High School Thursday.

John Marshall band students heard a performance from the Pastiche Steel Ensemble — a group of pannists and musicians hailing from various nations- at 2:30 p.m. at the school’s Center for Performing Arts.

The ensemble, which includes Wheeling Park graduate and Northern Illinois University instructor Yuko Asada, performed a variety of steelpan selections, ranging from Asada’s Calypso-style arrangement of John Denver’s“Take Me Home, Country Roads,” to traditional melodies from Trinidad and Nintendo’s Mario Bros. theme.

The Pastiche Steel ensemble was created in 2009 by graduate music students of Northern Illinois University. John Marshall was included in an October tour at various high schools and universities throughout the country. The group continued its tour at Kent State University Friday.

Originally from Japan, Yuko Asada moved to Wheeling with her family during childhood due to her father’s job change. Asada said her Ohio Valley roots made John Marshall a natural stop for the tour.

“I grew up here and I feel like it’s so special to share what I do with everyone,” Asada said. “I love the people of West Virginia and I’m very excited.”

Ensemble member Mia Gormandy, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, said the tours are influential for teens discovering various forms of performance techniques.

“We want to help educate people in the area on steelpan and different kinds of music,” she said. “Today is a workshop for students. … Sometimes when we live in a specific country we only experience that music, so it’s important for students to broaden their horizons.”

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