Oscar Pile Remembers
Laventille Steelband Festival 2005
Trinidad - PAN PIONEER Oscar
Pile said he never thought he would have lived to see the steel pan reach
where it has today.
At age 82, Pile fondly referred to as Bogart, said he was happy to have
witnessed the strides the pan and the people who play the national musical
instrument have made.
"Pan has more places to go in the future," declared the legendary steelband
He reminisced about Pan Am North Star's interpretation of "Voices of Spring"
and Casablanca's rendition of "1812 Overture," and said "I could not imagine
pan playing songs like these - classical songs."
Pile added that on his travels to the United Kingdom and the United States
of America, he witnessed the responses of the people to the steelpan and
from his estimation they appreciate the instrument.
Pile, who was a member of famed steel orchestra Casablanca, was at the
time commenting about the decision of the Laventille Steelband Festival (LSF)
Committee to honour him for his contribution to the development of the
steelband at this Sunday's (Aug 7) sixth annual LSF Street Parade. Under the
theme "Proud To Be...Laventille," Pile will join six other Laventille
honorees for the occasion.
The awards ceremony forms part of the popular pan parade which takes place
along the Eastern Main Road, Laventille between Mc Allister Street heading
east to Leon Street.
Pile said: "I feel appreciated by my community. Certainly, it is not the
first time I have received an award for my involvement in pan. At age 82, I
am a lecturer in the history of the steelpan. I have been invited to lecture
on the steelpan around the world. I also work with Pan Trinbago's history
and education department. I have worked with every steelband president."
Since the start of Festival, Pile has been a special guest of the committee
and has witnessed former Pan Trinbago presidents Sydney Gallop, Roy Augustus
and the late Arnim Smith receive their accolades.
Pile described the effort of the organising committee to host Sunday's
street parade exclusively to steelband music as an excellent idea. "It took
long to happen," he said.
Full of vitality, Pile said, the almighty GOD had given him the strength to
A new development at this year's Festival is a salute to the famous
Desperadoes Steel Orchestra and its sponsor West Indian Tobacco Company
(WITCO) on the celebration of their 40th Anniversary.
In an interview, Anthony Mc Quilkin, deputy manager of Desperadoes said 40
years of sponsorship with one company was not easy to achieve.
He explained: "It's not easy to stay in a relationship for so long, but it
has been years of harmonious relations. WITCO gave us our space to do things
the way we thought they should be done, once it did not affect the image of
the band and consequently the sponsor."
The steelband official lauded the unswerving support from the people of
Laventille and the band's fans around the world.
He made the point that without the people of Laventille, Desperadoes would
not have made it to such heights.
"Getting this far took hard work. During Rudolph Charles' period of
leadership, the band rehearsed from Sunday to Sunday. He wanted to change
the image of the band. Desperadoes had to compete musically and not by
fist," said Mc Quilkin.
He offered kudos to the band's technical team of pan makers/ tuners and
arrangers for their contribution to the band's success. Mc Quilkin
said Desperadoes looked forward to celebrating 40 more years with WITCO and
declared the band's intent on stemming the spate of crime in the Laventille
area by introducing the youths to the instrument through its pan camp.
From the Desk of
Communications Director Sean Nero