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Revisiting -- A Dream Coming True… Pan in the Schools of Trinidad and Tobago!

by Patricia Doughlin

Trinidad and Tobago - From as early as 1956, steelband teacher and arranger, Nervin Saunders, had already established a steelband in the R.C. Primary school in the village of Blanchiseusse. In the late sixties, Scofield Pilgrim introduced the Steelpan to the prestigious QRC Magnum band. By 1970, Ray Holman had followed his mentor and brought pan to another of the top schools in Trinidad, Fatima College. By the 80’s a number of persons and institutions played leading roles in the continuing establishment of ‘pan in the schools’. Here we are in the 21st century and still waiting for it to happen in a ‘real’ way.

It was at the Pan Trinbago Convention of 1980 that the first official call to put pan on the School Curriculum was made. Two of the nation’s well-known music teachers, Ms. Joyce Clement and Ms. Louise McIntosh made an impassioned plea for Pan Trinbago to intervene in the Pan in Schools initiative. They felt that, even though there were some schools that had been innovative enough to include steelpan in their music departments, there were still many music teachers who felt they were not adequately trained and so lacked the confidence to teach music via this instrument. At the same time, the use of the steelpan as an integral part of music was becoming more entrenched in England and North America! Out of this historic intervention came a resolution to appoint a sub-committee to address the issue of Pan in Schools in Trinidad and Tobago and to develop strategy to ensure its widespread success.

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... now we need the UPDATE from 2003 to 2020!!!

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