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Longtime NIU Steelband Co-Director Bids Farewell At Tribute Concert

Northern Public Radio

The Hon. Anthony Phillips-Spencer, Ambassador of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to the U.S., presents an award to Cliff Alexis at the tribute concert Sunday. Illinois, USA - NIU held a tribute concert Sunday to honor Cliff Alexis, who joined the university’s school of music in 1985.

Alexis helped establish steelpan studies as a major at NIU.

He’s originally from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago; it's where he started playing the steelpan at age 14.

“When I was young, most people gravitate toward the steel pan, especially coming from where I came from," he said. "I came from an underprivileged neighborhood, and that was one of the things to do.”

Alexis arranged, composed and co-directed the NIU Steelband with Al O'Connor and, later, Liam Teague. He will stay close to the university as a volunteer.

Alexis previously taught at St. Paul Public Schools for 12 years. He's performed worldwide and taken home numerous awards and distinctions, including the prestigious Minneapolis/St. Paul "Outstanding Black Musician" award.
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Well done Sir, best of wishes for the next chapter of your life.

Congrats Cliff,

It is wonderful to address you as Dr. Alexis. Well deserved!


POW!!! How is PATRICK ARNOLD? I have not heard from him in a VERY LONG TIME?


I thank Cliff of getting steel pan players to a University degree. Learning to write your own arrangement to be handed to the next generation is a blessing.I am in a band in Canberra Groove Warehouse Steel band had never play a pan is now playing in this band. I could not sight read but given the opportunity to learn some music by Carlyle Eversley I am now playing better and learning the skills of these graduates in my band I am now a proud musician as a steel pan player. Thanks Again to Cliff Alexis to raise our standard of music. Scratcher Man Courtney Leiba

Courteney: Me and Carlyle Eversley used to lime in BROOKLYN back in the SEVENTIES!!!

Congratulations in advance Dr. Cliff Alexis and enjoy your well earned title in retirement as well. I remember you added your voice in support of the need for better environmental standards for steelpan building and tuning. It is because of your complimentary statements about the need for my research work that I continued well motivated knowing that there is relevance for my contribution. Today I stand with you in acknowledgement to testify of your contribution to the global steelpan community for the power of your voice. Your comment elicited a response from Richard Forteau, secretary of Pan Trinbago who then clarified that the administration ensure only clean drums are used to make pans for the Pan in School program. My presentation, "EnviroPan Green Seal for Steelpan", at ICP 2015 was my first foray into steelpan environmental/politics at the global level. The future leaders of pan derives its motivation from pioneers like you and I hope to help save the lives of the human resources who build and tune pan for the global community.

Thank you Dr. Cliff Alexis for your continued support.

MC Joseph


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