Trinidad & Tobago - I vividly remember as a young boy coming to Trinidad from Tobago in 1985 to attend the National School Steelband Music Festival at the Jean Pierre Complex with the Trintoc Tobago Youth Steelband. I recall seeing this small yet larger-than-life character on stage with the Pleasantville Senior Comprehensive School performing Crazy's 'Suck Meh Soucouyant'. His personality was so magnetic and infectious, that I was captivated from start to end. Not to mention, he had immense flair and was some sort of style extraordinaire as I recall witnessing three costume changes that day.
Professor always exuded positivity and his passion for the steel pan instrument was evident when he played. It was a joy to witness his musical prowess. He mastered the stage. He played with the skill of enthralling his audience and drawing them completely into the music. He had a special ability to encourage youth and invested so much time into sharing his knowledge with young musicians and helping them to hone their craft. He was the man that would take you aside and teach you over and over again while boosting your confidence with encouraging and reassuring words. So great was the humility of a musical giant who has performed with international artistes such as Tina Turner, Ella Fitzgerald, Lionel Hampton and Tito Puente; and who has also performed at esteemed venues including Carnegie Hall, The Royal Albert Hall and the Apollo Theatre.
Over the course of years, he has played an integral part in my life and especially my musical journey, acting as a mentor and dear friend. He moulded me, nurtured me, offered indispensable advice, provided me with ideas and constantly motivated me. Professor would always greet you with the most inviting hug and smile. He was a warm, loving, happy, energetic human, full of charisma. One of my fondest memories of Ken 'Professor' Philmore will now be spending what would be those final precious moments with him on Friday 21 September 2018 at my birthday celebration. He came and played for my birthday and in usual Professor style, he was instantly the life of the party, hugging, greeting and chatting with everyone.
This loss is very untimely and tragic and has left a void in my heart. I will truly miss him. I offer my deepest condolences to his wife Sophia, his children and the entire steel pan community and fans worldwide.
Duvone Stewart -
Champion Panorama arranger, Educator, Composer, Performing Artist
Well said Duvone. I see Professor's influence in your arranging and soloing. I think he touched more lives and influenced more musicians than even he himself realized.
It's amazing how life just hands you one. After not playing pan for about 7 years, Sangre Grande Cordettes decided to choose Pro to arrange for them this year. So there I am going to check on the band one Friday and he was there. When he saw me he asked me what I was doing there, since he knew me from South. So I told him I live Grande now. Immediately he told me that I have to start back and help out the band because he has a winning tune for us. Little did I know that would've been my last moments with this great individual. I thoroughly enjoy the last days with Pro this carnival season. And just to echo the sentiments of all " That warm greeting of hugs and encouragement that he displays EVERY TIME he meets you will always be remembered. He reminded me of my talent with the pan and although I played in the "engine room" this season I am now rejuvenated all because of KEN "PROFESSOR" PHILMORE