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Reboot -- Roll Call - Celebration of Women In Pan

Global - It’s March and that means this is Women’s Month.  It is the month when we celebrate the contributions of women to the world.  Normally - as it is a When Steel Talks tradition - we highlight the month through a series of articles and interviews with the female movers, shakers, and up and coming stars.

Let's not forget the great women who were awesome and unwavering supporters of the steelpan music art form who have passed on since our last roll call. Keep the late Glenda Gamory, Dr. Pat Bishop, Dr. Geraldine Connor and Allyson Hennessy among others in your thoughts.

We will continue the WST roll call of the Women in Pan from previous years. Add your name, or the names of women globally, that are involved, or should be celebrated, for their contributions to and/or love for - the Steelpan Instrument and Artform below.


Celebration of Women
and the Steelpan Art Form

Sisters in Steel - A Tribute To Women In Pan

Their Story, Their Voice, Their Life, Their Dreams, Their Passion



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Many people may not know me as a "pan-woman" as I have been silently working in the background. I am currently the Project Coordinator, Pan in the Classroom Unit with the mandate of placing steelpan ensembles in schools and ensuring that the music curriculum is taught using the steelpan as the primary instrument of choice. Before the Unit was set up in 2003 I was the secretary of the Steering Committee which was responsible for brainstorming and starting the Pan in the Classroom Programme. The Programme was launched in 2002. I gave the overview of the Programme at the formal launch which was attended by Education Minister, Hazel Manning. I was also partly responsible for the first set of schools and teachers' colleges to receive steelpan ensembles. I then became a Regional Coordinator with the Pan in the Classroom Unit and as said is now the Project Coordinator.

My passion is for the arts generally but I particularly try to promote "local" or "indigenous"  culture including the steelpan. Hence, my research entitled "The Use of Indigenous Arts to Enhance Classroom Learning" - with the focus of marrying education and indigenous culture. 

Currently, my colleagues and I are constantly battling to ensure that the steelpan remains in schools. I am forever having to justify that the Pan in the Classroom Programme is a worthwhile one - one which deserves adequate funding for more schools to get pans, for provision of opportunities for our young panists to express themselves and demonstrate their value. There is so much more.

But I thank all supporters of the Programme and WST for doing such a fabulous job in keeping us informed and united in one cause.  The celebration of Women in Pan is appreciated. Thanks.

Our children can be saved through pan!

Josephine Torrel-Taylor


Ms. Torrel-Taylor,

Very good to hear of your efforts as a Woman In Pan - many kudos to you behind the scenes.  but what you wrote toward the end of your post is distressing, and unbelievable if things are as outrageous as you declare about having to justify Pan In Schools!!

  • Currently, my colleagues and I are constantly battling to ensure that the steelpan remains in schools. I am forever having to justify that the Pan in the Classroom Programme is a worthwhile one - one which deserves adequate funding for more schools to get pans, for provision of opportunities for our young panists to express themselves and demonstrate their value." 

Really!!!!!!  --- In the Land of the SteelPan?  Where the Instrument was invented?  While Nigeria is proudly going about developing its Pan In Schools program, and St. Lucia, Guyana, Carricaou, etc.  I won't even get into the coutnless number of orchestras in the schools here in the USA.  This as you write about it, sounds like a fricking, shameful nightmare.   Has this always been this way, or if not, when did you and co-workers begin facing this situation?

Please note - I STRONGLY but respectfully suggest that if you choose to answer this - Please start a New Post in the forum.  

Not only do your experiences merit its dedicated discussion thread, but it will not be polite to "hijack" this Pan Times thread specifically dedicated to "Women In Pan."

This is a "nightmare" if it is as you describe it - and what is the government's role, or not, in this situation?

So - can you please start a new thread here in the forum on this topic?  Thanks for bringing this to light!


A very informative article on the achievements of Rachel Hayward.   We must all be appreciative of her contribution to the advance of "The Pan" in the U.K.    I wish her continued success in her studies and in her research on "The Pan".

It is only a matter of time before an "All Girl Steel Orchestra"  is established in the UK, in Sweden, in Switzerland ,in Japan or in some other  "Pan-Loving" Country while we in the " Mother Country of Pan"  remain " asleep"  to the potential of an "All Girl Touring Steel Orchestra".      

                                                                                                   Ian Lambie

May I add the names of Heloise "Ray" Steele and Jacqueline Harvey both of whom were players with Texaco West Stars Steel Orch. from 1965. Ray I believe was  the first female to be a registered member of the Steel Band Association of T+T and she has received several awards since. Thanks.

Arthur? Like you aint paying attention or What? 33 mins ago, U just mentioned on the Discussion,  "Women’s Contribution to the Steelband Movement”, bout Beverley Griffith and "Sweet and Sour" Commented that Beverly is not a Woman, Beverly is a Man, I know, You just want to get your information in so you just Typing away, Yea, Beverly Griffith is a MAN. (I know it will come to you after awhile)

When doing research for a book on visual arts in the Caribbean, I came across the name of Bertha Higgins of Antigua. She was a powerhouse of a woman and one of the"midwives' of Caribbean Arts. She became a Federation MP, and was eventually knighted, but she and her sister( a music teacher) also drilled and taught the Hellgate Steel Orchestra, in their living room, in the late 1940's. Hellgate preceded TASPO at the Festival of Britain. Tony Williams told me that as TASPO arrived the Antiguans were packing up to go home.

I just read about Quill Barthelmy of Laborie, St Lucia and would like to see her name added to the list.

Hazel Henley-- founder of the first all woman steel orchestra in the world


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