A COMMUNITY group believes it will set a UK precedent for steel band music after receiving a £50,000 grant to launch a unique project, starting in the Caribbean.

St Vincent and the Grenadines Second Generation (SV2G) was told it secured the large grant last week from Arts Council England (ACE) after applying earlier this year.

SV2G, which set up the Wycombe Steel Orchestra a year ago, will now send between four and six players to Trinidad to become qualified tutors.

They will be taught the syllabus of steel pan playing and thus become the first teachers of the instrument to introduce a graded system to the UK.

Currently a graded system is said not to exist in the UK but the syllabus originated in Trinidad and Tobago and is widely taught in the USA.

Once qualified, the tutors will teach budding players on the orchestra's waiting list by taking them through the syllabus.

This will mark the starting point in SV2G's Steel Pan Education project, with the trainee-teachers jetting out to Trinidad in late August.

Jacqueline Roberts, chairman of SV2G, which is currently based at the Disraeli School, said: "It has never been done before that is why it is so unique and why the council (ACE) has helped us.

"We don't have a graded system in the UK or Europe and it is something that will be of benefit."

The project will be supported by the Associated Board for the Royal School of Music, which will validate the syllabus when it is eventually taught to students. This could see alterations made to the syllabus before the board decides whether to open it up to the rest of the UK.

Miss Roberts added: "It is team work. We have sat down many hours putting things together."

Meanwhile SV2G, which aims to increase awareness of African and Caribbean culture, is still looking for a permanent home in High Wycombe and needs storage space for its steel pans.

The steel orchestra will perform this Saturday at the Wycombe Community Festival between noon and 7pm. It takes place at the BCUC Wellesbourne Campus in Terriers.

If you can help the group's search for a new home or storage space, contact Miss Roberts on 01494 436269.