Island Fun for Everyone!

The unique sounds of the Caribbean steel drums can now be heard in the rolling hills of Virginia. From classical to calypso, the Island Music Trio has emerged as one of Virginia's premiere multi-cultural performing arts ensembles.

Set the Perfect Mood

for your Caribbean party - weather it's a rehearsal dinner, pool party, wedding on the beach, or a high energy education program, IMT’s performances are geared to entertain and set the perfect ambience for your special event. Contact Us to schedule a performance today!

From Africans, Asians, Europeans, former slaves, and many other parts of the world these sounds have been melded together to form a truly unique, recognizable, and "Caribbean" sound: the steel drum.

Learn more about the ethnic diversity and world culture in our Pan History section.


The Island Music Trio is available for private parties, festivals and many other ocassions and venues in between! Any time you want to add music with a high energy Caribbean flair call on IMT!

From Conga to Yellowbird, Tequila to Copa Cabana. And don't forget Day-O! The Island Music Trio offers a familiar and varied repertoire from Calypso to Classical! And no ocassion is complete without crowd involvement -- you'll never hear Greensleeves this way again!

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Birthday Parties

Wedding Receptions


Educational Programs


Corporate Entertainment


The Island Music Trio has developed a Standards of Learning (SOL) based program suitable for children of all grade levels. Our educational programs explore the history of four continents, five hundred years, and the voice of the small island country of Trinidad and Tobago - all in a light-hearted and fun presentation!

Teacher resources are available and recommended as an enhancement of the SOL goals. The educational programs are steeped in history, cultural diversity, acceptance, and the blending of ethnic riches.


The Island Music Trio has been regarded as "Professional musicians whose vivacity and passion for Caribbean heritage shine through... never settling for ordinary, they love it when you sing along!"

Gerald Pope

The founder of Brass 5 as well as Island Music Trio, Gerald is also an active soloist in Southwest Virginia. He was a long time member of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra as well as a music educator and band director in Roanoke City and County

Robert Chernault

Robert has been a long time member of Brass 5 and the Island Music trio as well as an active member of the performing art community in Virginia for the past 3 decades. He is a former member of the Army Band System, performing countless military and civilian events during his tenure in the Army. When Robert’s not performing with The Trio or Brass 5 he can be found at his store and shop, Star City Music in Salem, VA as well as on the internet at

Wes Robertson

Wes Robertson is an active percussionist and soloist throughout Southwest Virginia with over a decade’s worth of performance experience. Wes has served as a percussionist in the US Air Force Band Program as well as the principle percussionist for the Danville Symphony in Danville, VA. He is currently the drummer for Brass 5 and teaches Percussion at Roanoke College.


The Call of the Wild?

During the British Colonial rule of Trinidad in the 1800's, hand drums were used to call neighborhood gangs to gather and "mash up" with other gangs. In hopes of curbing the violence, the British government made hand drums illegal in 1886.Without drums, the people of Trinidad soon turned to another rhythmic signaling device -- the "Bamboo Tamboo." Each member of the group carried a length of bamboo and pounded it on the ground as the group walked through the streets, producing distinctive rhythmic signatures, identifying the gang as it passed by. When two gangs met on a march, they would pull out their machetes hidden inside the long bamboo poles. The violence problems were'nt solved. Word origin: "Tamboo" is from the French “tambeau" meaning "drum".

Bands Banned

Soon, the British government outlawed the "bamboo drums" as well. Deprived of all traditional rhythmic instruments, the Trinis took any objects they could find, including garbage can lids, old car parts, and empty oil barrels (from the Navy bases on the island). They used these instruments to form the Iron Bands, which marched down the streets playing the same distinctive rhythms. These impromptu parades were called Iron Band.

Serendipity & Enginuity

One day in the late 1930's, during a particularly rough iron band session, somebody discovered that a dented section of barrel head produced a tone. Winston "Spree" Simon is generally credited with being the first person to put a note on a steel drum. Originally the pans were convex, like a dome rather than a dish. Ellie Manette, a pan-maker still active in the US today, was the first to dish out a pan and give the steel drum its mature form. Many tuners began experimenting with and producing tuned 'pans', eventually forming large groups of the neighborhood panmen into orchestrated bands. There are many great musicians, arrangers and innovators in the history of the steel bands. You can find some great history books on the steelband at musical competitions which began to take place each year at Carnival quickly replaced the street fights. There are two competitions, one for the popular songs of the year, and a separate contest which showcases both the technical ability of each band and the versatility of the steel drum by presenting highly orchestrated classical pieces. Fifty years after the first such contest, the rivalries between steel bands still exist, but manifest themselves in an excellent quality of musicianship.The bands, which include Phase Two Pan Groove, the Amoco Renegades, the Trinidad Cement Limited Skiffle Bunch, and the Silver Stars, each perform a masterfully arranged, ten-minute piece for the yearly Panorama competition. Each band can contain over 100 musicians and 300 pans, and rehearses relentlessly for months before Carnival in the hopes of winning the Panorama and being crowned champion steel band for the year. If you are interested in the music produced by this event, Panorama recordings can be found at many fine record stores.


Gerald Pope
1795 Haymakertown Rd
Troutville, VA 24175

Phone: (540) 520-2194

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