March 5, 2004 – On Sunday afternoon, when University of the Virgin Islands senior Eltino Pickering presents a public performance showcasing his steelpan artistry, he will be making history as well as music.
A music education major on the UVI St. Thomas campus, Pickering is the first student expected to graduate with a steelpan concentration.
Like all UVI music ed. majors pursuing a bachelor of arts degree, he is required to give a senior recital of at least 50 minutes. And that's what he'll do on Sunday at 4 p.m. in the Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School auditorium.
His program of 13 pieces will range from classical works by Handel, Chopin and Rimsky-Korsakoff to calypso classics — "Congo Man" by The Mighty Sparrow and "Carnival Baby" by the late Lord Kitchener. He's dedicating his rendition of the Schubert "Ave Maria" to the memory of his grandparents — Lincoln and Roselphine Pickering and Miguel and Eda Rojas.
He'll also be joined by vocalist Elizabeth Cullar in performing an arrangement of Lionel Richie's "Endless Love." And making a special guest appearance will be the Pan In Motion steel ensemble.
A 1995 graduate of Charlotte Amalie High School, Pickering is accomplished on various pans that are combined to form a steel orchestra. His instrument of choice is the tenor pan. He also plays the tenor bass, the six bass and the baritone bass, as well as two brass instruments — the trombone and baritone horn. And he's the guitar pan section instructor for the Territorial Court Rising Stars Youth Steel Orchestra.
Even so, his plan was to major in biology at UVI — a plan he stuck to into his senior year. But then he decided to change his major to music education, Austin Venzen, UVI instrumental faculty member and Music Area coordinator, said.
"I told him that he will have to do another four years here," Venzen recalled, according to a UVI release. "I can't even begin to say how proud I am to see Eltino prepare for his senior recital, especially seeing how far he has come."
Pickering "reads music extremely well," Venzen says. "His senior recital is going to be exceptional."
The performance on Sunday is open to the public, and admission is free.
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