Kingstown, Saint Vincent | Founded 2020 | 100+ Youth Served
Steel Pan culture in Saint Vincent has been vibrant for decades. More recently, many youth have started to depart the area in efforts of looking for work opportunities on neighboring islands. Culture Keeper Kesslon Wilson felt it a great need to create music opportunities for youth that help them expand their creative talents, save the culture, make a living, and stay off the streets. As an acquaintance to the Bequia program, LEAF International Kingstown, Saint Vincent was created to help preserve Steel Pan Drum culture throughout the Grenadines.
The LEAF Elite Steel Orchestra was established 18 years ago by Kesslon Wilson. This program was created out of a strong desire to continue steel pan drumming on the mainland of St. Vincent while giving youth a positive cultural activity to focus on. Inspired by Steel Pan drumming himself as a youth, Kesslon proficiently learned every instrument used in a traditional Caribbean steel pan orchestra. His passion for music is matched with his passion to help youth, as he has been a teacher for more than 30 years.
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Kesslon Wilson, a well known Steel Pan musician, and teacher, joined LEAF International | Kids on Pans in 2014 as the new Teaching Artist. Both leading the program forward as well as meeting the growing interest of Bequia youth in Steel Pans. Kesslon has now moved on to create his own LEAF International program on the mainland of St Vincent & the Grenadines. He is a valuable addition to the Bequia program.
Kesslon first began to learn the steel pan tradition when he was just twelve years old and has held a passion for music ever since. Inspired by his community’s steel orchestra growing up, Kesslon has proficiently learned every instrument used in a traditional, Caribbean steel orchestra. His passion for music is matched with a passion for kids, as he has been a teacher for the past 30 years, teaching steel pan for the past 19.
“As we again offer profuse thanks to the LEAF Team for supporting us, even through this pandemic, in our mandates, ideals, and aspirations we again make a call to be more directly in tune with other arms of the Leaf Community. We are proposing an exchange programme where we could have a few members of a Leaf sponsored entity visit us, or we visit them, to share, fraternize and indulge in our diversities. Such hands on, in-person liaisons and interactions are sure to produce immeasurable benefits to all concerned not to mention a strengthening of bond throughout the LEAF Community World.” – Kesslon, Culture Keeper