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Nigerian Pan Tuners Graduate in Trinidad


Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - Pan Trinbago Inc. T.C., in collaboration with the Steelpan Tuners Guild of Trinidad and Tobago, held a graduation ceremony at the VIP Lounge, Queen’s Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain, for six young male Nigerian Naval Officers and one local female Officer of the Trinidad & Tobago Fire Service, who attended a nine months to one year training course mainly at the Sforzata Pan Theater, in the art of Steelpan Technology and Tuning. The intensive program, sponsored by the Nigerian Navy through Pan Trinbago Inc. T.C., was tutored by Mr. Vincent Pompey, Crafting and Construction and Mr. Leonard “Lenny” Lera, Workshop and Tuning, and coordinated and supervised by Mr. Fitzroy Henry, President of the Steelpan Tuners Guild of Trinidad and Tobago.

The significance of this course, is the positive impact it will have on the participants, and the potential for greater collaboration and cultural exchanges and trading between the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Pan Trinbago Inc. T.C and the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

It is not the first time that Nigerians have been in Trinidad & Tobago learning the art of Steelpan Construction and Tuning, but it is the first time the course was held exclusively under Pan Trinbago Inc. This arrangement was negotiated by Mr. Keith Diaz, President of Pan Trinbago Inc., the Trinidad & Tobago Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency Nyahuma Obika and the Nigerian Navy.

The six young naval officers were highly commended by the coordinator—whom they adopted as their ‘father’ during their stay—for their enthusiasm and dedication to the task. The ceremony started with eight-year-old Malaki Joseph playing the national anthem of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on the Steelpan, the country’s national instrument, followed by the officers playing the anthem of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the Steelpan instruments they made.

The function was graced by the presence of national Steelpan treasure and scientist, Anthony Williams, who was introduced to the graduates. Making a guest appearance and displaying one of his masterpieces was another young Steelpan scientist, Mr. Jimi Phillips.

Addressing the graduating class were the president of Pan Trinbago, the president of the Steelpan Tuners Guild of Trinidad & Tobago, and the acting Nigerian High Commissioner. After receiving their certificates and exchanging gifts and pleasantries, the officers left to pack for their return to their homeland.

They were made aware that the knowledge of making the instruments is what they have acquired so far, but the tuning aspect is acquired with dedication, commitment and patience over a long period of time. In this regard, it was agreed that after one year they will either return for a refresher, or a Pan Tuner from Trinidad & Tobago would be sent to assist in this regard.

Says Pan Trinbago PRO Michael L. Joseph, “Nigeria is a country with a population of over one hundred and eighty million people. A breakthrough in this market can do wonders for the Steelpan fraternity. We are working towards this achievement within the shortest period of time. May the spirit of our ancestors continue to clear the pathway to success, as we continue to drive the movement forward.”

Michael L. Joseph
Public Relations Officer
Pan Trinbago Inc. T.C.

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