Hatters Steel Orchestra
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|Hatters began as the Broadway Syncopators for the first post-war carnival in South Trinidad in 1946. They later changed their name to Broadway Hatters in 1950. They ceased functioning in the early 1960s but regrouped in 1967 and went on to win the Panorama competition in 1975 with Steve Achaiba as the musical arranger. Hatters finished among the top three steelbands in the following significant competitions:|
Compiled by Ronald C. Emrit
Additional info by Gideon Maxime - Steelband Showcase - 23rd January, 2002
Hatters was founded in the year 1946. The original name of the band was Broadway Syncopators but changed to Broadway Hatters in 1950. The composition of the band was mostly young men who as the custom in several areas were ‘liming’ partners.
Some of the early or foundation members were Edison Bonas, Kenneth Vincent, Allan Lewis and Charlie Barker. As is the norm with many of the steelbands in the North such as Tokyo, Desperadoes and Invaders, the name Hatters originated from the motion picture “Hatters Castle”.
The original home of the Hatters was on Independence Avenue San Fernando. But later moved to several spots such as Lewis Street, Independence Avenue and Keate Street,. Hatters could now be found on Lady Hailes Avenue.
In San Fernando there was such an abundance of players with great talent that bands such as Cavaliers and Silhouette were formed, so too was Hatters.
Cavaliers provided the early rise in the ascendancy of
Hatters to fame and fortune. Hatters won the South Zone
titles in 1969, 1971 and 1972 Panorama Competition -
1969 - The Bull,
1971- Mas in Madison Square Garden
1972- Melody 1972.
Well known Steve Achaiba of Cavaliers was the one responsible to be that never to be forgotten arrangement in 1975 “Tribute to Spree Simon” a selection which brought the band and indeed to South the Panorama title that year and one in which the band won from Preliminary to Final.
Hatters has also made its impact on the International scene (trips to the United States were made to Minneapolis in 1974 and Dallas in 1975).
Hatters over the past years have one of the more experienced players, Earl Brooks, as its arranger. A few years ago he was involved in a motor vehicle accident which almost cost him his life.
Courageous as he must have been, he is now responsible for the favourable position the band Hatters now enjoy.
Having lost their sponsor Maritime Life years ago and went through a period without one, Trinmar has come to the rescue of the band which augurs well for the future.