Meet Kyle Cox
Kyle realized his inclination for creativity and music at an early age. When he began playing piano at age 8, he was not interested in playing music already written – he preferred making his own.
Kyle began his percussive quests in school at the age of 10 and quickly excelled and attained many achievements and accolades.
Kyle’s innate pioneering nature made him a perfect fit as a lifelong leader. He held various leadership roles and accomplishments throughout school – such as being named the principal percussionist of both the University of Southern Mississippi’s percussion studio under the direction of Dr. John Wooton and also the internationally acclaimed University of Southern Mississippi Wind Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Thomas Fraschillo.
While Kyle was exploring his collegiate options he attended a recruiting weekend and scholarship audition at USM. There he discovered the magic of singing steel – the USM steel band. From the downbeat of that concert Kyle was hooked – undeniably hooked. Later that weekend he was able to play a steelpan himself for the first time and his captivation with the instrument escalated dramatically. With the first strike of the mallet on the steelpan, Kyle knew the rest of his career would be centered around this family of instruments.
Later in his studies in 1999 he met Alan Coyle (Coyle Steel Drums) who was passing through town on a tuning trip. Alan realized Kyle’s motivation to pursue the steelpan artform was palpable and offered him a summer internship at his newly formed company in Pensacola, FL.
Although Kyle’s dream was to play timpani for the Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps and he was on track to play with them that summer, he loved the steelpan so much he immediately let that opportunity go and accepted Alan’s offer to join Coyle Steel Drums.
Upon graduating from USM in 2000, Kyle moved to Pensacola to become a full time apprentice of Alan’s. Kyle is forever grateful for his apprenticeship with Alan, which helped lay the foundation for his future path as a steelpan and handpan maker.
In 2004, Kyle and his new wife Lori moved back to Farmington where they were both from and Pantheon Steel was born.
Kyle was also adjunct music faculty at Mineral Area College in Park Hills, MO from 2005 – 2010. He created the steelpans for and founded the steelband program there and also was head of the percussion department.
The first two Halos ever produced by Pantheon Steel were unveiled to Kyle’s students at Mineral Area College. They were also the first to perform in the world’s first Halo ensemble on December 1st, 2009.
Kyle passed the Mineral Area College steelpan program on to two other instructors and stepped down in 2010 in order to devote more time and energy to Pantheon Steel.
Way back in his college days, Kyle had been to the Pantheon in Rome and his first thought when looking up at its structure was that it looked like a huge upside down steelpan. He thought whimsically “How cool would it be to play its notes by throwing a tennis ball up at them?”
Little did he know that this encounter at the Pantheon in Rome would be the perfect inspiration for naming his future company. And what’s even better – it has the word “pan” in it!
Kyle’s gift of creativity is being used in full force, now not so much in playing music, but in forging ahead with new methods and processes of creating the Halo as a contribution to the greater handpan community.
He has a lifetime of ideas and is very thankful and fortunate to have a team beside him who can help all his ideas become reality.