Trinidad and Tobago - Louise McIntosh, founder of the Pan Pipers Music School in St. Augustine, east Trinidad, passed away last Sunday, September 6. The institution has trained such musicians as Chantal Esdelle, Satanand Sharma and Kwame Ryan.
At Pan Pipers, youngsters were introduced to several instruments including pan, piano, flute and violin; McIntosh entered a mixed ensemble in Trinidad & Tobago's biannual music festival, having pan compete against other conventional instruments. This move in 1976 was a very radical one, and the music festival organisers tried to have Louise's students disqualified
Even in the 70s - and in the 'home' of pan - it was considered not quite a 'real' instrument. Not only were Louise's students eventually allowed by the foreign adjudicator to perform -- they came second. In following years they won repeatedly. Louise McIntosh's first link with the steelband world came in 1966 when she first arranged for Hilltones in Tunapuna. Although they did not move past the semi-finals, Harold Headley from Tripoli - who lived nearby - copied McIntosh's arrangement and with it, won the solo competition.
Louise McIntosh was a quiet, charming, dignified and talented musician and teacher who was much loved by her students. Her legacy remains in the many who are now recognized and career musicians in their own right.
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