Charles Edward Brooke School

Charles Edward Brooke School is a Church of England Girl's School in Camberwell, South London.

The school steelband was formed in the 1980s to give music making opportunities to large numbers of pupils and is called the CEB Pan Ensemble.

There are currently six steelbands: one each in years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 plus an after school steelband. Each steelband rehearses for one hour once a week.

The Steelbands were initially taught by the then head of music, Mr Fox, in the classroom (teaching music of the Caribbean) as well as being part of peripatetic and extra-curricular provision.

The steelband groups vary in size from 6 – 14 persons. The bigger bands are in the lower school (Years 7 and 8); the smaller bands are in the upper school (Yrs 10 and 11). The steelbands play a mix of classic calypso (Kitchener and Sparrow), jazz and latin, show tunes, Caribbean music (reggae, ska and soca) and soul music.

The current year 11 pupils, who have been learning for nearly five years, can now play for over two hours without repeating a tune. They also occasionally perform with a horn section (saxaphones, trumpets and trombones) made up from pupils at the school.

One of the steelbands is also pan around the neck traditional steelband.

Pan is an important part of the cultural life of the school and pupils are enthusiastic learners and performers. Their dedication is reflected by the high attendance and low dropout rate due to the enjoyable learning experience. Music GCSE students often perform their coursework on steelpan instruments and Pan is treated as part of the mainstream music provision requiring the same dedication and discipline as any other musical instrument.

The school steelbands regularly perform at school concerts, local primary schools and for local park events (or fetes). They also perform as part of Black History Month Celebrations. They have also performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall as part of Lambeth Schools Music Festival. The year 10 pupils performed playing ‘pan round neck’ with Kinetika for Thames Festival.

Information supplied to My Panyard by Charles Edward Brooke School

In September 2012, Charles Edward Brooke became a co-educational comprehensive school and was renamed Saint Gabriels College. 

The steelband also changed its name to SCMusic Senior Pan Ensemble.

In February 2014, Mr Fox passed away. His untilmely death touched many of this former pupils and colleagues, and in celebration of his life they marched playing instruments from the Royal Festival Hall to St Peter's Church to say goodbye.