Steelpan Arranger

Curtis Marcelle

Curtis Marcelle
Simple Song Steel Orchestra

Panorama Championships
click for more on Curtis Marcelle


Curtis Marcelle

Mr. Curtis "Sleepy" Marcelle, (Disc Jockey, Musical Director, Composer, Vocalist, Producer, Showband Percussionist, Arranger and Panist) was born in Ste Madeleine Village, San Fernando, Trinidad. He is the first born child of four children of the well known former Free French  Percussionist and Orisha Mongba, the late Knolly "Nulsie" Arnette (1917-2001)and Thelma Marcelle


At an early age, he has serious affection for music, the family could not afford to purchase musical instruments so his dad who was also a recreational fisherman on weekends would go out with friends to fish on the high seas and the next day he would untangle the nylon lines by stretching them around the pole etc. He taught him and his younger brother Allan how to make an Acoustic Guitar from the fragment of "cat guts" (nylon) and get sounds from it. At Christmas the toys would be Harmonica, Flute and toy curator with no musical training and no knowledge he had perfect pitch he would play along to many songs on the radio. 

"Sleepy" love for pan came when he hear the live performance of Tesoro Starlift's panorama winning piece Du Du Yemi which was composed by Slinger Francisco the Mighty Sparrow and was also called Natasha. At  2012 Pan in the Rosa which was held on the 4th October was the first time he watched Starlift perform this masterpiece live. He still says that it is his favorite panorama song of all time.


July 1981 he passed the Common Entrance Exam and got his second choice San Fernando East Junior Secondary (S.F.E.J.S.S.). Mrs. Lorna Conyette was the music teacher on the A.M. shift and she gave  him his formal start of Music Education.


Christmas  of 1981,brothers Curtis and Allan Marcelle was tutored by relatives Michael and Roger Charles, who lived on Rose Cottage Street. Many youths converged and their home to learn to play pan, Nigel Charles, another brother was  a bass player and the all had their Steelpans under their house during the year. They played with T&TEC Stage Side Michael the elder brother played Double Tenor and Roger played Double Seconds and is the Arranger for Trinidad Valley Harps for the 2012 panorama competition.


Curtis joined the Ste. Madeleine Methodist Church and joined the Boys Choir under the direction of Clyde Smith (Dennis Smith and Dianne Saunders father.) He developed his voice training there.


After sitting 14 plus examinations, passed for his first choice and subject Creative Arts  for Pleasantville Senior Comprehensive School), he was extremely happy about  this because the echoes of the Pan was heard at S.F.E.J.S.S. as the winds blew across collector Road Pleasantville especially for school pan competitions rehearsals.

He joined the School Steelband from the first week on the Double Tenor Pans, Ian "Cokey" Beccles, was a senior there and there were others like Wenthwoth Richardson (classmate) and a few others who were in the band with Arranger Anthony " Butters" Bartholemew while Ken "Professor" Philmore was away preparing the Sonatas Band their panorama in New York City.


Curtis is very shy was considered a learner and had problems learning the music with so he was invited to the 6 Bass Section by Form 5 section leader Lisa Henry, She told him that he had to be in school by 7A.M if he was serious about learning the songs "I can't do it at the rehearsal," so walking through the canefields tracks from Ste. Madeleine to Pleasantville (P.S.C.S.) which took 25-35 minutes was a choice and was sometimes quicker when there is traffic on the road. The first song he learned on the Bass was Fireflight's Morning Loving’ which was arranged by "Butters"


Christmas came we lost Anna Haynes the music teacher (resignation)  and formed Creative Arts Class band, I learned songs on the Acoustic Guitar, there were better pan players so he tried to switch and was asked to play Drums Set on 2 songs Feelings and one of the Christmas Carols.


Dane Halls was also from his village and a student at P.S.C.S went to his parents to seek permission for him to joined Vat 19 Fonclaire for 1985 Panorama, Zilla his younger sister was asked of her opinion from their dad and she said yes so  the "Ste Madeleine Posse" was made up of mostly panmen from Antillean All Stars, Motown and Fonclaire ,gathered in front of his house as usual the get the bus but this time instead of staying behind he was on the bus too.

Curtis participated with many projects with P.S.C.S but was not allowed to perform on Fonclaire's Stageside due to school. One of them was when he themed up with Roger Charles to compose Raindance which was used later on in one of the schools drama production.


Curtis assisted with many steelband arrangements on projects for many years. But his first time on his own was with Hoytonians Stageside 1988, the Ste Madeleine boys was very supportive and Dane Halls played cello pans was made Captain, Allan played 7 Bass for the first time I was learning to play the Low E Seconds.

Astil Alleyne was watching the talents of Sleepy and took him to the Moruga Sun Valley band, and at age 21 he did his first panorama arrangement of one of Iwer George's party songs.

He was also an active  member of the Malick Folk Performing Company and participated in productions between period 2004 and 2006

November 2008 he was promoted to Musical Director Bandleader) of the Westerdam Halcats making him the first ever Caribbean born musical director for a cruise ship showband in the world.


A few years passed and Sleepy continues to work with on cruise ships  was addictive because of the places around the world up to this day.

He was a big highlight on the 2010 FIFA WORLD CUP Charter aboard the Ms Westerdam from Barcelona to Cape Town, South Africa and also performing and singing all types of music  to his nicely arranged backing tracks at the Raft, Walvis Bay, Namibia, Africa.

He has appeared performed many shows as steelpan and his favorite on TJC, Wayman Teesdale Smooth Jazz Cruise several times 2007, 2009,2010,2011 and 2012,

Simple Song Steel Orchestra acquired Mr. Marcelle's services to do their 2013 Prelims Panorama rendition of "Mash up de Stage" on the eve of his departure from Trinidad early November 2012; so using Finale 2011 Music Notation program, 12 days working round the clock in the Netherlands, he sent via email to Kendell Bowen, the band's stageside arranger, for distribution, the musical parts to the band.



Bands – Steelband Arranger (1986-2005)

Asst. Steelband \Tutor Arr.-Jul 1986-Jan 1992-Pleasantville Snr. Comp. School Band,

Steelband Arr.-Sept 1988-Jan1999 –Hoytonians Steel Orchestra, (Stageside)

Steelband Arr.-1994-1996 Kalomo Kings (Stageside)

Steelband Arr.- Sept.2000-May 2003 Pan Aces International Steelband Ensemble

Asst. Steelband Arr.- Jun 1988-March 1991–Panosonic Connection Steel Orchestra (Stage side)

Steelband Arr.-Dec 1990-Dec 1991–Moruga Sun Valley Steel Orchestra, (Panorama & Stageside)

Asst. Steelband Arr.- May 1988-Feb 1993–Vat 19 Fonclaire Steel Orchestra( Stageside)

Asst. Steelband Arr.- 23rd May 1993 -19th Feb 1994 Hummingbird International Steelband

Asst. Steelband Arr.- Feb1993 (2 Months) - Potential Symphony, (Stageside)

Steelband Arr\Tutor.- July 1994 –Sept 1996 St Joseph Convent (SF’DO} Panaphilic Connection (1994 -1996)

Steelband Arranger.- Jan – March 2005 – Simple Song Steel Orchestra (Panorama)

Steel band Arranger - Golden Symphony Steel Orchestra – July 2004-Sept 2004 (Stageside)

Steelband Arranger -San Juan Government Primary School Steelband -2005

Asst. Steelband Arr. Bishops Anstey Trinity College High School (Trincity) 2006

Steelband Arranger - Fonclaire (Steelfest -Oct.2012)



Steel Orchestras – Steelband Player (1982-2003) & Instruments.

*Hoytonians-Double Bass-’88 Panorama (Pan Around The Neck) & D.Second (Stageside).

*Pleasantville Senior Comprehensive School – Double Tenor & 6 Bass ’84 -‘88

Eldorado Senior Secondary School – Double Seconds (Feb ’89 - Mar ’90)

*Hummingbird International Steelband D.Second & 6 Bass (23rd May 1993 – 19th Feb 1994).

*Kalomo Kings- QuadrophonicTenorD.Tenor. & 6 Bass (1994-1996).

*Moruga Sun Valley-DrumsTenor-’91 & ’92 Panorama.

*Panosonic Connection–Tenor, D.Tenor, D.Second.’88,’89,’90 ’02.

*Royal Castle Potential Symphony- 6 Bass-’94 & ’95.Quadrophonic Tenor-’96 Panorama.

*Fonclaire-‘86-’93 6,9 Basses, ’95,’96,’04 D.Second for Panorama.

Antillean All Stars-Tenor- ’88 Panorama.

Carib Tokyo- 6 Bass -’95 Panorama, & Tenor –‘’96 Panorama.

Curepe Scherzando-Tenor-’95 Panorama.

Harmonites-12 Bass-’95 Panorama.

Casablanca-Tenor-’91 Panorama.

Pan Vision Ensemble - 6 Bass ’94 Pan Ramajay.

Pandigenous & Pan Aces (Cruise Ship Caribbean Bands) Sept ‘96- April ’04.

Starlift-Tenor- ’95 Panorama.

Motown-D.Guitar-’95 & Bass-’96 Panorama.

Siparia Deltones-D.Tenor ’89 Panorama

Valley Harps-Tenor -’95 Panorama

TCL Skiffle Bunch D.Tenor-’95, -6 Bass/9 Bass -2002/2004/2005 World Steelband Music Festival

Simple Song – Double Second - 2005 & 2006 Panorama

Phase II Pan Groove - 7 Bass, 2005 – 2006 Panorama.

Courts Babonneau (St. Lucia, W.I.) - Tenor(2005 Panorama)

Arima Golden Symphony-D.Seconds(2012 Jazz Challenge)

Performed on the band’s Stageside



Sound Engineering, Music Notation for Music, Brass and Steelband. & Woodwork Designs




Awards received Excellence for Recorder Duet-Methodist Circuit Music Festival 1983.

1st Place – Fonclaire – Assistant Arranger – Pan Ramajay 1989

2nd /3rd Place -P.S.C. School Steelband-Arranger-School Steelband Music Festival 1989/1991

1st Place-St Joseph Convent Steelband- Arranger-Pan Adoption Music Festival 1994

1st Place-St Joseph Convent Steelband- Arranger -Schools Pan Adoption Music Festival 1995

4th Place-St Joseph Convent Steelband- Arranger -Schools Pan Adoption Music Festival 1996

Most Outstanding Student Woodwork 1992 - Christ College Technical Vocational

School Prefect of the Year ‘91-92 Christ College Technical Vocational


Tours (Steelband)

 Vat 19 Fonclaire- Brooklyn Academy of Music- New York, U.S.A June 1991

Vat 19 Fonclaire-Toronto, Canada. July-August 1991

Panlegacy (my pan jazz band) Italy, Sweden, many, many, tours to US, Canada, Caribbean

Hummingbird International Steelband- (23rd May 1993 -19thFeb 1994)

Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, U.S.A, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Far East, Colombia, Venezuela, and 45 other countries.

Pandigenous & Pan Aces (Mexican, Caribbean & Mediterranean Cruises) Sept ‘96- April ‘04

Halcats Band – Caribbean, Europe, Alaska Oct – 2006 to 2012


His website has more information pictures and videoclips of performances.


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