Sharing Pan

Steelpan School Assembly with Potts & PansI have to start this blog post out by thanking a couple people. The reason for this post is because of the work that Jan Bosman and Erica Burke have done. If you don’t stalk me on Facebook, there is a good chance you have no idea what I’m talking about. These two women took interest in what I do for a living. Everything from working part time at my dad’s powersports dealership (Jim Potts Motor Group), to the work I do with Crystal Lake South High School and, of course, the work I do with all the various aspects of the steelpan.

I’m not writing this blog entry to restate everything they already said, you are certainly as capable of reading their words as you are for reading mine (and they are better writers than me!). Check out the article I’m talking about on McHenry County Living’s website. The reason I’m writing this post though, is to thank not only Jan Bosman and Erica Burke, but to also thank everybody that has supported me or has taken an interest in what I do.

Giving up an engineering scholarship to pursue making a career out of steelpan was not an easy decision. However, I cannot imagine myself doing anything else and am grateful that I have had people to stand with me. Every time I give a performance, or work with any of my students, I am in awe that this is what I do and to see support from people who would otherwise be strangers to me, is incredible.

RockTeaching.jpgIt’s not just the students that I work with, the people that attend the Great Lakes Steelpan Festival, or the people that hire myself, Potts & Pans or Culture, Arts and Music, but it is also the every day people that stop me at the post office and say “aren’t you that steelpan guy?” or the parent that I happen to do other business with that says “you worked with my child last summer and she still hasn’t stopped talking about how cool that was!” These events are starting to be more of a regular occurrence, and it never ceases to amaze me at the lives that I have been able to touch. Some may think that I am referring to the recognition or pseudo-local-celebrity status that seems to be developing, but that’s not what really excites me. What really excites me, is that just 10 years ago most of the people that now recognize me as “the steelpan guy” or “that guy from Potts & Pans” probably didn’t even know what a steelpan was. Although it is a slow process, I am seeing that I am actually making a difference in spreading steelpan and reaching more and more people.

To bring everything back to the article, the fact that this magazine that features events and people from McHenry county showed such an interest in what I am doing shows that more people are aware of the steelpan. Every now and then something, like this article, forces me to take a step back and look at my life. It’s at times like this that I realize all the work and struggles are far outweighed by what I am accomplishing. I am nowhere near where I am going and seeing local support and interest grow fuels me to keep pushing further. I have been attracted to pan since I discovered it existed in 2004, and to see how local interest and knowledge of this beautiful instrument has grown over just 3 short years, proves to me that this instrument is truly something special and that I am here to help showcase it to more people. Additionally, I must thank the people of Trinidad and Tobago for giving the world this beautiful instrument. I am forever thankful for all who have come before me to develop this instrument and lead to one getting into my hands.

photo-23Now that you have made it to the bottom of my spewage of gratitude lined with disbelief, thank you for caring about what I have to say! The fact that you took time out of your day and actually read this post that I wrote is exactly the type of thing that I referred to a couple paragraphs ago. Some of you may have known me prior, some of you may have known the steelpan prior, but some of you haven’t and that is what fuels me to keep going. Thank you! Now you should go read something a professional writer has to say :) McHenry County Living Article