Weekend Festival September 27-30, 2018

3rd Annual Weekend Festival – Featuring Jeff Narell! Join us in Denver for a fun-filled weekend of music with our special guest artist and clinician, Jeff Narell. Jeff is not only a world class musician but has played a major role in the history of steel pan here in the US. Fore more info, check out his website here.


Jeff and Rick are picking out tunes for the festival right now.  We should have the parts available to download by July.


The final performance will take place at the South Pearl Street Farmer’s Market, Sunday, September 30. The festival band will play from 10:30 to 11:30 that day and the RMSB Mass Band will play the rest of the time at the Farmer’s Market.

Pan Rental

We do have a limited number of instruments available to rent including tenors, double tenors, double seconds, guitars and 6-basses. If you want to use one of our pans please contact Rick right away to make sure we hold one for you!


Jeff Narell is our guest artist and featured teacher for the weekend.  If you’re new to the pan world you may not have heard of Jeff, but you may have heard him in a movie score! He’ll bring a wide range of fun songs to learn and jam on.  Read his full bio at the bottom of this page.

Rick Henson discovered the magic of steel pans after college, in 1999.  Steel drums quickly became his greatest passion and he founded Rocky Mountain Steel Bands in 2003.  RMSB has grown to offer classes and performing ensembles for all ages and abilities.

Rick has also started 2 of his own professional ensembles, Strings & Steel and Urban Island. Hobbies? Free time? Nope, just lots of steel drums…


This part of Aurora is one of the most diverse areas in the US. You can find virtually any kind of ethnic restaurant you may want.  Of course, there’s plenty of traditional places to eat as well.  Simply put, there’s something for everyone within a 5 minute drive and many choices within walking distance.

If Rick has his choice, though, he might end up at Moe’s for bowling and BBQ..


Thursday night, we’ll start the weekend with some hang time and getting to know each other.

Friday, we’ll rehearse most of the day but you’ll have plenty of time for lunch and some time in the evening to explore Denver.

Saturday, the same schedule as Friday. We’ll make sure we are done by about 5pm so you can enjoy another great night in Denver.

Sunday, we’ll meet at the gig early to unload and get set up!

Fees and Registration

The fees for the weekend festival are $275 which includes all the music, instruction, and the performance.  We do offer an early registration discount.

Early registration has 3 benefits:

  • Save $25 – First 10 to enroll may use code: Save 25
  • Early digital access to the sheet music

Take advantage of this valuable early registration offer, and register by August 14.   Use code: earlybird

Still have questions, please email rick at rmsteelbands@mac.com


The weekend festival will take place at:

RMSB studio
10691 East Bethany Drive
Aurora, Colorado

Denver is pretty much right across the street. Our facility features two 800 square foot studios and even a small pan store with accessories like sticks and stands.

September is one of the best times of the year to visit Denver or Colorado in general. The weather is perfect and the mountains are beautiful.  The only thing to make it better is a weekend of steel band music.



There are many good hotels close to the studio:

Intown Suites
2221 S Havana St, Aurora, CO 80014
(303) 283-8421

Radissan Hotel Denver Southeast
3155 S Vaughn Way
Aurora, CO 80014


We’ve had a great response after announcing the festival.  Some of you have asked some really great questions and so we are posting those here:

Q. How good do I need to be to participate?
A. All levels are welcomed to attend.  Jeff can work with raw beginners and pros.

Q. What if tons of people sign up?
A. No problem!  If we have a big turnout we might split up for part of the time.

Jeff Narell, Biography

Jeff Narell is an internationally known steel panist, Afro-Caribbean percussionist and educator-clinician who studied in the 1960’s with Ellie Mannette, the principal inventor of the modern steel drum.

With his 2006 release, Callaloo, Jeff cooks up a Caribbean stew of dance grooves featuring top vocalists from the region including Crazy, Rasul, Carlos Soto and Claudia Villela. Callaloo features Jeff’s original composition Ellie Man, a top tune played by steel orchestras island-wide for Trinidad Carnival 2003. A tribute to his mentor, it was sung and recorded in collaboration with Trinidad calypso star Crazy and performed by Ellie’s original steel orchestra, Invaders, at Panorama. Selected by steel orchestras in five countries, Ellie Man captured the crown in Toronto’s Caribana festival.

Narell has recorded and performed with a diverse array of artists including George Benson, the Grateful Dead, Bobby McFerrin, and Olatunji and on four big box office films, including 48 Hours and Commando. He has composed two theatrical scores, one of which, commissioned for the California Shakespeare Company’s production of The Tempest, won the Hollywood Dramalogue award for “Best Original Theatrical Score”.

As a bandleader based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jeff has brought his musical ensembles before audiences at concert/club/corporate events across the USA including Hawaii. He also has acted as musical director for Trinidad Calypsonians Crazy and Chalkdust and performed with Boogsie Sharpe, Robert Greenidge and Ray Holman.

Jeff was a guest artist on the Grammy nominated CD in the Latin Jazz Category, Rhythm at the Crossroads, featuring Cuban master percussionists, Patato, Changuito, and Orestes Vilato.

In 1995 Lost Tribe Records released Jeff Narell’s self-produced debut CD of original compositions, Wave of Love, described by Latin Beat Magazine as a “hot World pop debut. . . pure Caribbean sugar. . . funky, jazzy around the edges and ready to get you dancing.” Wave of Love received national airplay.

Jeff’s second CD Voyage to Paradise features standout performers in the Caribbean jazz idiom including Rebecca Mauleon Santana, Ray Obiedo, Manny Oquendo, Jesus Diaz and Michael Spiro.

In his commitment to perpetuating the art form, Jeff has traveled internationally to set up steel band programs and conduct clinics and workshops. In addition, he directs several ongoing Steel Drum Programs in the San Francisco Bay Area, involving hundreds of students at the middle school, high school, and college level. He also leads his professional group in performances under the auspices of the San Francisco Symphony and Young Audiences Arts in Education programs.