St. Luke's Steel Band was started in the fall of 1999 when Father Victor Rogers and a group of supporters from New Haven's historic St. Luke's Episcopal Church purchased a set of used steel pans from a band in Brooklyn. Since then, the group has attracted a dedicated membership of players of all ages. Many of the members or their families come from the West Indies: the islands of Antigua, Barbados, Bermuda, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago are all represented in the ensemble.
Under the direction of founding director Debby Teason and assistant director Donna Johnson, St. Luke's Steel Band quickly gained a reputation as one of the area's most exciting performing ensembles. In 2010 Kenneth Joseph, who had just received his master's in pan performance from the renowned Northern Illinois University steel band program, joined the directing team at St. Luke's and became the musical director the following year. He has continued to guide the band in compelling performances as well as expand the teaching program, which now includes beginning, intermediate and adult beginners' classes as well as an annual steel pan summer camp.
St. Luke's Steel Band's achievements were recognized in 2003 by an Artist's Award from the Arts Council of Greater New Haven, and they have won two gold medals at the PANorama Caribbean Music Fests in Virginia Beach. In 2008 they performed with tenor pan virtuoso Liam Teague for a standing-room-only crowd in New Haven, and April 2009 featured a joint concert with the renowned Positive Vibrations Youth Steel Orchestra from Washington DC. Following a highly successful performance on the Yale School of Music's Duke Ellington Concert Series with composer/performer Andy Akiho in April 2010, St. Luke's Steel Band was invited back to perform again with Mr. Akiho in November 2010. St Luke’s Steel Band has also had the pleasure of collaborating with Haven String Quartet, resident quartet of Music Haven, and the Heritage Chorale of New Haven.
The band regularly performs during services at St. Luke's Episcopal Church and also plays for concerts, festivals, benefits and private functions throughout the region. Their repertoire includes soca, calypso, reggae, classical, sacred, jazz, popular and island folk music.