An Organisation Dedicated to Steelpan
The Steel Workshop was officially established on the 1st of April 2016 by Leticia “Tish” Viljoen. With the assistance of a crowd-funding platform through The Arts Foundation called BOOSTED, Tish raised enough money to purchase a small orchestra of steelpan instruments from pan maker, ace pannist, arranger & professional musician, Lennox Jordan.
Her initial concept was to do “travelling workshops” to schools around the Auckland region. She wanted to bring the pans into their environment with the hope of creating enough interest amongst the teachers and students to create more school steelbands.
Raising Awareness and Developing Interest
As the steelpan is still a relatively new instrument (only invented in the 1930’s), it is not commonly known here in New Zealand. The challenge is encouraging the schools to invest in their own pan instruments.
Some schools have already shown interest, such as Bream Bay College (from Ruakaka) with two established student steelbands: “The Panimals” and “Steel Panda”.
Katikati College also runs their own steel bands within the school. Under the leadership of Wendy and Billy Flemming, it started with the assistance of Marion Titmuss of the The New Zealand Steel Pan Academy.
We have had developing interest from local schools in Auckland and other areas. Currently, we are running continuous weekly workshops with the Wesley Intermediate School students.
Workshops for Everyone
Aside from school workshops, we have also been approached to run music workshops for adult groups. It’s a great team building experience and fun group activity. The Steel Workshop also offers one-on-one lessons where you can learn to play the steel drum.
In addition to the above, we also offer an entertainment option, where clients can hire us as live background music for their next event. Our services are flexible, ranging from a solo pan performance right up to our full steelband. We encourage clients to get in touch directly to discuss their entertainment needs and budget.
Get to Know Our Founder
A Musician With Passion
Born in South Africa, Tish has been living in Auckland New Zealand since 2007. Performing for more than 21 years, she began playing the steelpan at school in South Africa when she was 12. Now, she runs a small business called The Steel Workshop, which is focused on bringing steelpan workshops into schools in Auckland and surrounding areas, to create interest and knowledge about the instrument. She also works with other already established steelbands around New Zealand, including The Caribbeanz Southern Stars, The Panimals and Bay Silver Pans.
She is an active member of PANZ (The Pan Association of Australia and New Zealand) and is currently a committee member. She held the vice president position in 2016 and was voted PANZ President for 2017, and again in 2018/2019.
Tish has assisted in the organisation of the PANZfest Steelband Festival 2017, which took place in Cairns, Australia. She was also on the planning committee for the first Aotearoa Steelband Festival, which took place in Auckland from the 23rd-25th of February 2018, and currently also on the planning committee for the PANZfest 2019 festival due to take place on 20-22 September 2019 in Brisbane Australia.
Enjoy Eclectic Sounds
Tish also performs as a solo pannist for various functions and events and is the band leader for the newly launched steelband Steel’n Beats. You can expect to hear a bit of everything in their set list, such as classical, pop, traditional calypso, soca, jazz and more. She is inspired by the talented pannists around the globe.
Our mission is to provide music education with steelpans to everyone no matter what your background and musical ability.