Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music
Kim Loy Wong - Taking Pan to the Americans
On arrival in New York Wong wasted no time in starting over a dozen Steel Drum programs for delinquent/ghetto children ranging from 5 years old to late teens. These included the Henry Street Settlement, Educational Alliance on South Broadway, Leak & Watts in Yonkers, Dr. White Centre in Brooklyn, Graham School in Yonkers and Children’s Village. W.I.T.I. Graham School and Children’s Village are two of the schools that survived the Government cutbacks in the late 70s and may still be in successful operation to date.
Early in 1960 Kim Loy Wong started rehearsing with some of the young people at the University Settlement on New York’s lower East Side. Within three months they were playing for dances and other occasions around New York City.
In the good old days Wong’s teaching of the steelpan in Queens, New York, included the likes of Andy and Jeff Narell, sons of social worker Murray Narell.
Wong later became the steeldrum instructor at Wiltwick School for Boys outside of New York where the music was useful in providing therapy to the mentally and behaviourally challenged child. He also worked with a number of other correctional institutions “including jail,” he explained.
Kim worked the road with the late Liberace in Carnegie Hall and at Madison Square Garden among other places. He’s worked at Café Wha’ in Greenwich Village with Richard Prior and Richi Havens, and opened for such greats in the music industry like Ike and Tina Turner, Dionne Warwick, Stan Kenton, The Rolling Stones and John Lennon, to name a few. He’s entertained for first ladies Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson and Rosalyn Carter.
this is a great history lesson for many of us who did not know this at all
we always hear about the ellie mannetes etc
thanks for sharing
I would also like to add that Kim also made and tuned all of the pans. aka: Curly/ Tahzann
This sounds familiar. When I worked with WACK Radio 90.1 FM, some years ago I remember doing an interview with Kim during which time he unfolded same to the many listeners who were locked on throughout the world.
I remember reading this post back in 2011. Living in Florida, I have met Kim Loy and I used every avenue to acknowledge him publicly. Many people are not aware of his great contributions. That is sad. However, I will continue to promote him whenever possible.