Dreher High School Steel Pans to Shine with the South Carolina Philharmonic

Dreher High School’s steel band, the Steel Pans, is set to be featured soloists in the upcoming South Carolina Philharmonic’s Masterworks Series Concert titled “American Rhapsody.” The concert is scheduled to take place at the Koger Center for the Arts on February 24 at 7:30 p.m.

The Steel Pans will be showcased during the performance of “Festa Criolla” from the Louis Gottschalk symphony “Night in the Tropics.” Despite having 40 students in the Steel Pans this school year, 32 students will be participating in this unique and exciting opportunity.

Dr. Chris Lee, Dreher’s director of bands, expressed the significance of this opportunity, stating, “This is the chance of a lifetime. Many of the students in the band attend the Philharmonic’s concerts. The students are thrilled with this opportunity.”

Dr. Lee, who has been playing with the South Carolina Philharmonic since 1990, highlighted that the idea of having a high school instrumental group perform with the orchestra came from Morihiko Nakahara, the Philharmonic’s music director, who was inspired by a similar performance by the Richmond Symphony in Virginia.

In addition to the Steel Pans’ performance, the concert will feature pianist Lara Downes, an internationally acclaimed artist. She will be performing Billy Strayhorn’s “A Lovesome Thing: Billy Strayhorn Suite” and George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”

Lara Downes is recognized for her role as the creator and host of “AMPLIFY with Lara Downes,” an NPR Music series featuring intimate conversations with visionary Black artists and cultural leaders. Her appearance promises to add a unique and captivating dimension to the concert.

This one-night-only performance is expected to be a memorable showcase of collaboration between high school musicians, a renowned pianist, and the South Carolina Philharmonic.