Pans on Fire was the first of the Triangle Community Steelbands to be formed in December 2009, in the immediate aftermath of the Black Saturday Bushfires. Under the directorship of Rita Seethaler, they have gone from not knowing what a steel pan was to having a growing repertoire. They have played over 150 gigs since their first public performance in March 2010, and are a popular attraction in the district and elsewhere.
Rita Seethaler (band director)
"the sheer variety and complexity of music styles always amazes me - it's an endless ocean of musical ideas! And it's great to "conquer" some of the musical styles with Pans on Fire on our steelpans. Also, thinking about the future, I'm looking forward to all the fun places we will be going to play our music - like a big family on the move."
"every Tuesday night, Isaac & I travel to Taggerty together.
We talk and sing in the car, sometimes we laugh, sometimes
we invent a new repertoire and try it out in parts vocally.
We always look forward to the fellowship of the pan - music,
food and drink, spirited conversation. Our minds are stretched"
"the whole Pans on Fire experience has been an incredible journey for me (so far). Having the opportunity to not only learn to play a steel pan, but also to develop a taste for the rhythmic styles of the Caribbean has been a welcome distraction to an otherwise busy life. Being able to play with such a great group of people who seem to enjoy it as much as I do, is a bonus"
"well ... to me it means fun and friendship, something entirely new
and absorbing that takes your mind off other things, something that
can't be compared with "before the fires" (this is important, I think),
plus a chance to spread some light-heartedness around the community"
"it's about the people, the fun and the satisfaction of learning to play this unique instrument. I love that it's brought music back into my life, and appreciate the friendships. The food after rehearsals is good too - especially the cheese!"
"Pans on Fire helps keep me connected to like-minded people
through music. The music is uplifting and gives me some
diversion from everyday life. I get unconditional support
from everyone. I also enjoy the sense of belonging to this
group, making music together and having fun"
"a connection with like-minded folk of all ages and of similar recent experience. putting a sense of "routine" back into place. an escape. a purpose. fun."
"we have a ball playing the steel pans. It's just so uplifting, being all together, and playing something, playing an actual tune when none of us read music"
"cannot believe that after two years I'm still with the band. After my first lesson I was totally lost and was quite prepared to quit. So pleased that I hung on as I just love playing pans and it has become such a huge part of my life"
"being a non musical 61 year old, playing in a steel pan band was not on my bucket list. It has been, and still is, a challenge and heaps of fun. ‘Pans on Fire’ has been great for my recovery after the fire. I love practices and gigs
(still have to pinch myself, ‘gigs’!)"
"in the early days of POF, it was really important to have
something regular to look forward to when everything else
seemed topsy turvy. I enjoy the band community and especially enjoy seeing the audience's faces when they enjoy our music so much. It is such an uplifting experience bringing joy to others not to mention to us the band members. It is great fun at the after show parties too!!!!!!"
"after the fire when I heard about the offer of learning to play steel pans I jumped at it. Never for a moment realising the massive impact the decision would make to my life. It has been such a great help with the healing and moving forward positively after losing our home, business and everything we owned. I love it, look forward to everything we do in "Pans on Fire" which is filled with fun, music, performances, a great sense of achievement and a wonderful circle of friends"
"from instruments we had seldom heard let alone seen, from the first tentative notes of “African Marketplace” to public performances and recording sessions, Rita has led us to this place of friendship, challenge and achievement. Sometimes I feel I should pinch myself to make sure this amazing journey is really happening"
"the big grins on everyone’s face when we ‘nail’ it is a joy to see. Fun, personal satisfaction and the enjoyment of being a part of the Pans on Fire family is made even better by the terrific friendships and mutual support that has developed between us. I’m certain the experience has had a huge positive therapeutic effect on us all – just when we most needed it. We work hard but we get back so much more"
"a microcosm of displaced, small town folk. Inspire and teach them music in a weekly commitment. Mess and frustration, songs are learnt as a town is rebuilt. In the end you have beautiful songs, true camaraderie, happy listeners and another road to recovery"
"after a session, you sort of come out exhausted, but better.
You're so tired from playing;
so your brain's better,
but your arms aren't"
"I had listened to Rita playing the pans for years, but never thought I would one day be playing them myself. I'm so glad it happened. Starting with Pans on Fire has allowed me to become friends with a great bunch of people, who I would otherwise never have met"
Miyu & Nico
"we are just Japanese and French backpackers who stumbled into the Trinidadian Triangle, and now we can never escape. Thanks for welcoming us into the band."