Maroon Steel is a steel pan ensemble club that started at Texas A&M in 2013 with the purpose of getting together to play and spread the drum music associated with the Caribbean islands.
With the club being very united, Maroon Steel president and ocean engineering sophomore Jack Bahmer said “it makes things easier” for him.
“It is a ton of fun because I came in with a little experience on steel pan,” Bahmer said. “A big thing with steel pan is the group atmosphere. Everyone there is really good friends, and it's just a good time playing really fun music.”
With what originated as a music class, Maroon Steel vice president and performance studies grad student Josh Muetzel said Maroon Steel has grown into a student organization where students can join, be a part of something and find a sense of family.
“Being in Maroon Steel has been one of the best experiences of my life,” Muetzel said. “My first year of college, it was hard for me to make friends, and after joining Maroon Steel, it was like I was immediately part of a new family. I’ve been involved with a couple other steel bands in other places since, and I’ve found that steel bands are always welcoming of new people.”
Maroon Steel also holds performances on and off campus throughout the Bryan-College Station area, one of those performances being downtown Bryan’s First Fridays of every month.
“First Friday performances are always so fun because the crowds really get into it. I think that setting is one of the best places a steel band can be experienced,” Muetzel said. “The audience is standing right there with us, able to dance and move to the music just like we do, and it makes the performance so much more fun.”
Even though the First Friday performances are once a month, Maroon Steel treasurer and finance junior Reagan Kinley said it allows people to come hear Maroon Steel in person and experience the Caribbean sound firsthand.
“We did the November one, and we actually had quite a few people come hang out with us,” Kinley said. “It's just fun, upbeat music, and it’s something different that a lot people haven’t seen before and haven’t heard, so it was really fun.”
Muetzel said Maroon Steel also gives its members room to learn about ensembles and to grow as musicians, so by the time they leave A&M, the experience would not only fun, but beneficial for the future.
“As a composer and musician, I am looking to get more experience directing ensembles and writing for steel bands before I graduate,” Muetzel said.
As time continues to move forward and active members near graduation Muetzel said “all members share the same feeling of friendship and family that Maroon Steel has given them.”
“What I will miss the most about Maroon Steel are the great friends I have made in so many members over the years,” Muetzel said. “The bonds we have formed playing in this band will last for the rest of our lives.”