Author: Caitlyn Kamminga
UTT APA is delighted to announce that Stefon West, pan student of Dr. Mia Gormandy-Benjamin, has just accepted a position to teach in Haifa, Israel as a part of the Peace Drums Project. Peace Drums is a unique interfaith initiative promoting peace amongst Jewish, Muslim and Christian youths that promotes peace through the shared activity of a dynamic steel orchestra.
Currently a music instructor at the Ministry of Education Multicultural Music Program - serving Riversdale Presbyterian Primary School, Gasparillo Government Primary School and St. Paul's AC Boys Primary School - and a fourth year student at UTT APA, Stefon has been mentored through the Teaching Artist Pathway at UTT APA. Mr. West also recently opened his own Steel Pan Academy in September 2018 and is in the process of handing over the reins to his successor as he takes up his new position abroad.
Mr. West has performed with NGC Couva Joylanders Steel Orchestra since 2000. For the last five years Stefon has served as Operations Manager and has arranged for the band for the last two years, placing 3rd in the Medium Band category this year. In 2011 and 2013 Stefon toured with Joylanders to Ghana where he performed alongside Papa Yankson and Amakye Dede. In 2015 Stefon successfully completed the Artist Diploma at UTT APA and decided to continue at the Academy to pursue his Bachelors of Fine Arts. In 2017 Stefon traveled to St. Vincent to perform in their Panorama with the Sion Hill Euphorium Steel Orchestra under the direction of Seion Gomez and again in 2018 with Starlift Steel Orchestra under the direction of Duvone Stewart.
Stefon is due to graduate from UTT APA at the end of this academic year. As he takes on his new position in Israel, focusing almost immediately on a Peace Drums tour to the United States, we want to wish him every success and to encourage him in his role as an ambassador of the national instrument and of the University of Trinidad and Tobago, Academy for the Performing Arts. Stefon we know you will make us proud!
Congrats to Stefon and Couva Joylanders, one of my favourites. We anticipate your success as one of our country's ambassadors in the delivery of Pan, and any other skill you embrace. Much love.