Melodians Steel Orchestra (UK)

The Melodians Steel Orchestra operates as a registered charity based in Henry Cavendish School, Balham, South London.

The orchestra was formed by Terrence "Terry" Noel in 1987 and gets its name from the Melodians Steel Orchestra in Arima, Trinidad.

The Melodians was formed to provide opportunities for young people from various social and racial backgrounds; to develop musical skills, techniques and a wide repertoire of music.

There are currently 28 members who practice every Thursday evening for two hours and three hours on Saturday afternoon.

The musical direction comes from a number of skilled band members. They employ a composer occasionally to compose and arrange pieces specifically for the orchestra. The versatility of their repertoire is renowned in performance of music that includes classical, modern, calypso, pop and jazz compositions.

Between 1997 and 2008 Terence secured sponsorship from British Telecom Overseas and during this time the steelband was known as BT Melodians. Previously to this they were sponsored by the British West Indies Airways (BWIA).

The Melodians international popularity is partly due to its links with the British Council Cultural Departments around the world, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Over the years the Melodians have entertained delegates in embassies worldwide and have taken its distinctive sound to several countries including: Albania, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malta, Turkey, France, Dubai, Russia, Morocco, Belgium, Ireland, Jersey, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Dagestan, Beirut, North Korea, India, Italy, Qatar, Zambia, Yemen and Trinidad & Tobago.

At home they performed many times at the Commonwealth Day Service in Westminster Abbey and at Buckingham Palace Garden parties in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen and other members of the Royal Family. They have also performed at Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament and held many annual Christmas concerts at the Royal Albert Hall.

The Melodians have won several awards including 

      • Two Performing Rights Society Enterprise Awards
      • Her Majesty the Queens's 40th anniversary Royal Anniversary Challenge Award 
      • A BT Innovation Award

Most recently the orchestra recorded music for a film, English Magic, that is being shown in the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale festival (May to November 2013).

What the members say?

“I wanted to tell you how very privileged I feel to be part of Melodians and to have been part of the Biennale project.”

“I think the Melodians contribution to this project will be far reaching and good things will come out if it”.

Information supplied to My Panyard by the Melodians Steel Orchestra.