A steel pan group founded by Croydon resident Marlon Hibbert has been awarded the maximum grant to participate in the Lord Mayor’s Show today.
Endurance Steel Orchestra were selected by The City of London Corporation as one of three community groups to perform at the annual event to celebrate the appointment of this year’s new Lord Mayor, Fiona Woolf.
In preparation for the show and in keeping with steel pan’s Trinidadian origins, the group have been working with Croydon’s BRIT school of performing arts to produce a float decorated like a Caribbean cruise ship.
Hibbert, along with 14 musicians, will appear at the helm as captain, as they travel the three and a half mile procession route from the City of London to Westminster.
Alongside the float, the group will also be joined by martial arts specialists CSE stunts, who led the Olympic “Our Greatest Team” parade with musical performance group Kinetika Bloco last September.
The group applied for the grant after a recommendation from Chris Storey, a member of North London based steel orchestra Pan Nation, who participated in the procession two years ago.
Endurance Steel’s founder and musical director Hibbert said: “It’s an amazing achievement for us to receive such a grant. It has helped to boost us and our profile as a band.”
Hibbert started playing steel pan aged 14 at the Comets Community Project in Croydon, before founding Endurance Steel Orchestra at the age of 17.
He said: “My original goal was to create a band in which people feel comfortable to express themselves and feel as though they are part of a family. Through the use of steel pans, I hope to enable youth to have opportunities and experiences that they would not usually have – the Lord Mayor’s Show being the perfect example.”
The musician now runs twice-weekly steel pan classes for six year olds upwards at the Waterside Centre on Avenue Road, South Norwood.
He also said: “I feel that there isn’t enough for the young people in Croydon. I hope through our performance people will see that young people can do big things when they work together and hopefully this will encourage more young people to take part in team activities. I think it’s great to show the youth in a positive light.”
Endurance Steel Orchestra will also be performing next week at the turning on of Croydon’s Christmas lights on Friday 14th November.