The Founder

Matt Potts is a graduate from Northern Illinois University with a degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering and also a degree in Steelpan Construction and Production. While still at NIU, Matt realized how difficult it was for himself and fellow panists to find pan items like cases, mallets, music, and stands. While working on his two degrees, Matt started up The Steelpan Store and has continued to work towards making it the best source for all products relating to steelpans.

Matt, his seconds, and some works in progress

Matt, his seconds, and some works in progress

After leaving NIU, Matt realized that there were little to no performance opportunities for a panist in his community. Along with this, he realized that many other NIU graduates were in a similar situation. In order to keep this instrument alive and to help it spread and prosper in the area, Matt started this group.

Matt bought all the instruments required to start the band and did some retuning work on the pans himself. This got all the instruments into decent shape and allowed the band to start. Once the instruments were prepared, Matt called up some friends from school and asked them to join the band and thus began Potts & Pans Steelband.

Realizing that this will not help spread pan to new musicians, Matt decided to expand on the Potts & Pans organization and started working on the community outreach portion. He decided to start off by talking to the different high schools in the area and try to stir up interest in the percussion students at those schools.

Matt’s efforts lead to the creation of Crystal Lake Illinois’ first steelband, the Crystal Lake Central High School Steelband. This was a great start, and Matt is currently working on expanding and getting more students involved with the organization. For more information on this please check out the Community section. Matt has also taken the education part another step further and has started a Not For Profit Educational Organization called Culture, Arts and Music that is currently applying for 501(c)3 status.