Music in the Park
steel drum band
has high energy sound
band to perform in Madison
(September 2012) As days shorten and temperatures
drop, saying good-bye to summer can be hard. Just in time, Bacchanal
Steel Band conjures images of sunny beaches and ocean breezes as their
calypso beat brings a final taste of summer to Madison. Bacchanal specializes
in steel drums and tenor pans to create both Calypso and Soca tunes
the primary musical styles from Trinidad, home of steel
instruments. The band also throws in some Reggae, pop, classical and
jazz, just to keep the night interesting.
l Band was inspired
by teen musicians
playing in Cincinnati.
The band consists
of (from left) Bill
Jackson, Brian Malone,
and Bernie Wells.
When Bacchanal played for Madison Main Street Programs
Music in the Park series a couple of years ago, listeners
were so enthralled with the bands musical variety organizers were
thrilled to bring them back to finish the Music in the Park series.
Music in the Park offers free concerts at the Broadway Fountain every
second Friday from June through September. Bacchanal will take the stage
at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8. While this will be the last regular Music
in the Park event, a special Music in the Park concert is
held annually for the Saturday night of Madison Chautauqua, Sept. 29,
featuring the Doctors Band. It begins at 7 p.m. also.
Madisonians are invited to bring folding chairs and blankets to enjoy
a free evening of music downtown for these popular concerts.
Bacchanal was formed by a lucky, chance-encounter with a group of struggling
teens. Lead musician Brian Malone started his musical career as a percussionist
and played professionally for orchestras in the Cincinnati area.
I was in Cincinnati one day and heard a group of teens playing
this incredible music. I loved the style and wanted to learn more,
says Malone. The teens were members of the Over the Rhine Steel Drum
Band, playing at Peaslee Neighborhood Center, a local community center
for at-risk teens. The center put on a free training program in steel
drums to give local teens the opportunity to learn the style and get
a start in music.
Over the Rhine rehearsed and performed out of the center. I got
a job at the center to learn to play the music. Before long, they made
me director of the band. We played through the center until 2001.
After leaving the center, Malone organized his own band with his now-wife,
Jennie Malone, an old college buddy, Bernie Wells, and Bill Jackson.
Malone plays tenor pan, his wife plays double second pan, Wells the
drums and Jackson focuses on bass. They bring steel drum music to the
Our best gig came when we were invited to play the Caribbean leg
of a world-wide Japanese cruise. We got to actually visit the places
originating the music we love to play, says Malone.
The band also travels throughout the region and as far as North Carolina
conducting school programs to introduce students to the steel band style.
Bacchanals unique tropical style is sure to bring a fresh energy
and engages listeners in a departure from the typical rock, blues, and
country styles that play the series.
Madison Main Street Program is a non-profit organization promoting businesses
in Madison. The concert series helps bring people downtown and promote
downtown businesses, according to Gerry Reilly, head of Madison Main
While Music in the Park is the most popular offering, the Main
Street Program also promotes business through events such as the Fourth
Friday events, Art Jam, the Buy-Local campaign and seminars
helping educate local business leaders. We work to grow the Madison
economy by offering events that bring people downtown and encourage
them to buy locally.
Reilly notes that as the money stays in Madison, more products come
available here, and we keep jobs in Madison.
Because we are a non-profit organization without any city support,
we pass the hat at concerts to keep funding flowing to these important
endeavors. The summer concert series has been a great success, and we
hope to see the pay off for local businesses.
Malone said he cant wait for Bacchanal to return to Madison. We
love historic river towns, he notes. We walk down Main Street,
tour the Lanier Mansion, and enjoy the river. We cant wait to
get back there and spend an evening with the people. Wed love
to see everyone come down to the Broadway Fountain to enjoy the concert.
Well even offer the opportunity for audience members to get involved
if they like. Just come listen and enjoy.
Back to September 2012