Thirteen members of Delaware Steel, UD's premier steel band, will travel to Israel for a seven-day tour beginning Feb. 28 at the invitation of the municipality of Holon, Israel. Under the direction of Harvey Price, assistant professor of music, the ensemble will perform five concerts and several educational programs throughout the greater Tel Aviv metropolitan region and play for more than 200,000 during a Purim event that features ensembles from around the world. This will be the ensemble's second trip to Israel, having performed there in 1999.
The highlight of the tour will be an educational/family concert with the world renowned Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Zubin Mehta. The performance might be the first time a steel band has performed onstage with a world-class symphony orchestra.
Price said the band, which consists of himself, students, faculty members and a community member, will perform a variety of pieces throughout their tour, including Andy Narell's The Sea of Stories and Boogsie Sharp's Pan Rising.
Delaware Steel also will be working to establish the first steel band in the Middle East. Price said he has given steel drums to be used in three different musical centers to create an educational initiative with Israel's Department of Education and the Israeli government, which may lead to future exchanges between the University and various educational institutions in Israel.
Delaware Steel performs campus concerts as well as several high-profile engagements every year. After a successful tour of Germany in 2005, the ensemble was invited last January to participate at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center's 250th Mozart celebration, performing the overture to The Magic Flute to a sold-out house.
Price said the trip to Israel will allow students to see the world, operate at a high musical level and will help raise the profile of the University. “The trip is very good cultural exchange for us,” he said. “It means the students get to go and learn about a place they only hear about in a negative sense. It opens up the students' eyes to what is out there in the world.”
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