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Kim Loy Wong - Taking Pan to the Americans
 

Global

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.

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Global Pan Movement!!!
I'd like Kim Loy to name the people in the picture where the guys are wearing straw hats and there is a girl dancer.
What most of your readers don't realise is that without Kim Loy, Gaby, Hunte and Rudy King, back in the late fifties and early sixties, we probably would not be having the Labor celebration that we participate in and enjoy today. They were the only steelbands around. Practice was on Vernon Ave in Brooklyn. When the crowd who came to listen became larger each year, NYPD and the City of New York, allowed the bands to play by the Armory on Bergen and Bedford Ave.This site attracted just as any Americans as West Indians. For us, we were hearing our music that we had left behind and it eased the culture shock that we were experiencing in this new country. One thing led to another until eventually we were allowed to play 'mas' in Prospect Park. Then came the permission to have a short parade by the library that ended in Prospect Park.That was the birth of Labor Day as we now know it.. So give these pioneers their due respect.

Geddes Ince
Yes Royce. I don''t come on the site often enough, but when I do and find an interesting dialogue going on then I offer my insight. How are you? Will be in Miami in October so I look forward to getting together with you so that we can chat about life in general.

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.

Brenda H 

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