Foxwood Panyard is a collection of Leeds steelbands, band leaders, teachers and players.

What we have in common is our way of teaching [a combination of Foxwood Songsheets and aural/visual technique], collaborations, some shared tunes. while each band also retains its own identity in terms of repertoire.

Foxwood Steel Band 1987/8 with banner made by Trish Senior

The birth of the Panyard was with Foxwood Steel Band at Foxwood School in the mid eighties. It was started by Head of Music and Expressive Arts, Victoria Jaquiss, who was then joined by Charlotte Emery. Then Charlotte left in early nineties to become Head of Music at Merlyn Rees High School, where she formed Pantazia which became South Steel when Merlyn merged with Mathew Murray. This then became an adult band, and the new school band was Panzinit.

What most of players and band leaders have in common is that their first steel pan teacher was StClair Morris, who was one of the first UK council steelpan peripatetic teachers. Very sadly StClair died in November last year [see his obituary in our blog].

The city-wide high school steelband is the Leeds Silver Steel Sparrows, led by Victoria Jaquiss, assisted by Natalie Marks and Bex Ainge.

Bex Ainge was a high school student at St Michael's College studying with StClair; now she leads East Steel. Wanda Thorpe was Head of Music at Leopold where StClair was the visiting peri; now she is bandleader for Oulton Steel Band, having previously led the steelband at Cookridge Primary School.

Natalie Marks was originally a student at Foxwood [briefly renamed East Leeds High School], indirectly learning from StClair. Now she leads LS14, a band of ex-students from Beechwood School.

Foxwood Panyard works alongside Leeds ArtForms Music Service who provide the pans and tuition for the Sparrows, North Steel and some of East Steel. However while these bands were hatching out, Foxwood Steel would support them with extra players, pans and transport. And to the day we will occasionally lend each other players, but never try to poach!

Leeds Pan Central at Leeds Arena 2014

Bands currently active are Foxwood Steel, East Steel , Leeds Silver Steel Sparrows, Oulton Steel Band, South Steel, North Steel, and playing together, for the big events Leeds Pan Central

Leeds Pan Central mainstage Leeds Carnival 2004

 

 

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