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pan steel drum programs

Jeremy kunkel -
 pan outreach & Tin Cups Band
Chris belich - pan-handlers band

History of the Pan-handlers Steel Drum Program

The Pan programs were founded by longtime Chops member/instructor Jeremy Kunkel in 2013 with the creation of the Pan-handlers Steel Drum Band. Since 2014, Pan-handlers has been entertaining audiences all over the Twin Cities.


After performances, Pan-handlers’ members often allowed audience members to try out the steel drums, which led to questions about where and how to learn how to play pan. Thus, the idea of a “traveling school of pan” was born, and Chops launched the Pan Outreach Program as another way to carry out its mission of educating people of all ages in the art of music and performance. Founded in 2018, Tin Cups is our steel-drum ensemble for amateur players.


The Pan-handlers, Pan Outreach, and Tin Cups programs strive to provide world music educational opportunities and artistic development through steel pan instruction and performance. Whether you’re interested in learning, performing, hosting, or volunteering, these programs count on the involvement of people like you. Please contact us with any questions or comments and thank you for your support!

Pan-handlers Steel Drum Band


Chris Belich

Chris Belich, Director of Pan-Handlers Steel Drum Band

Pan-handlers is Minnesota’s premier steel drum band. Our tropical sound and varied song selection is guaranteed to get your body moving and your spirit soaring!

The Pan‑handlers play at various events throughout the Twin Cities area and beyond. We play just about every style of music, but with a tropical flair that can only be created by the steel pan.


For more information about booking the band, playing pan, or attending an upcoming performance, visit our website or contact

Tin Cups Steel Drum Band


Jeremy Kunkel

Jeremy Kunkel, Director of Tin Cups Steel Drum Band

No experience? No problem!


Founded in 2018, Tin Cups is our steel-drum ensemble for amateur players. The Tin Cups perform in parades and events during the summer months, offering learning and performance opportunities for novice pan players or players with limited availability. At least once per season, Tin Cups performs with our professional steel drum band, Pan-handlers, in a concert setting, creating a steel drum band with more than 30 musicians!


No experience is necessary, but a willingness to practice and learn is mandatory! We offer the public a way to play and learn steel drums with no stress. If you enjoy it and want to continue for the summer, join Tin Cups and take a pan home to practice. It’s simple…and IT’S FREE! Visit our website for more information, or contact

Pan Outreach Program


Jeremy Kunkel

Jeremy Kunkel, Director of Pan Outreach Program

Throughout the school year, the Pan Outreach program is provided free of charge to our host schools, typically over the course of a three- to six-week residency. We bring the instruments and the instructors to each host school, giving students an opportunity to play pan and learn about the cultural origins of the instrument.


To better facilitate group learning, we developed a classroom method for beginning steel-drum band. Our method includes descriptions of techniques, etudes, diagrams of note layouts and cross-curriculum information about the culture and craftsmanship of steel drums. Pan Outreach provides copies of our classroom method to each host school.


This incredible, free music-education offering prepares students for a performance. We can also work with host schools to add our steel-drum curriculum to a general music class, offer steel band as an extracurricular/after school activity, or as an added ensemble for band students or percussionists. A combination of these options is often employed, and we welcome other ideas as well.


For FAQs and to find out more about to get the Pan Outreach program into your classroom, visit our website or contact


Chops' Pan Outreach program is funded in part by a grant from the NEA.

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