Cherise Thorne
image provided by C. Thorne

Meet Cherise Thorne of Barbados - Steelpan Performing Artist

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Hailing from the beautiful island of Barbados, Cherise Thorne is an up-and-coming pan soloist and arranger. Her journey with music began around the age of 7, when her late grandfather, also a musician, recognized her rhythmic capabilities and enrolled her in private piano lessons. These lessons lit the spark that would eventually blossom into a flaming passion. She was introduced to the steelpan at the end of her first year of high school in 2008. It was through the school band’s director that she was then introduced to the Youth Pan Project, an initiative started by the Central Bank of Barbados, to teach and develop the musical skills of young persons aged 9-18 during the summer breaks. Over the six years involved, the project saw Cherise’s graduation from a member of the senior group in her first year, to counsellor, pan tutor of the junior group and eventually the administrative assistant.

In 2014, she moved to Jamaica to pursue a bachelor’s degree at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. Although her degree was in physics, her undeniable love for pan and music lead to a significant portion of her time being spent in the panyard of the UWI Panoridim Steel Orchestra. During her time there, her appreciation for the instrument continued to develop, along with confidence in her performing and arranging abilities. She served in the capacities of bass section leader, executive assistant and captain of the orchestra. She was also a member of, arranger and musical co-director for a few church steelbands in Kingston. Upon completion of her degree, she returned home to Barbados, where she branched out as a solo panist for the first time and has since been a regular performing musician at the Barbados Hilton Hotel.

Music has been the main creative outlet for the majority of her life and performing has provided countless opportunities to transform her otherwise calm and reserved demeanor. Some of her most memorable performances include those done at Pan Pun De Sand, an event showcasing local and regional steelbands during Barbados’ annual Crop Over Festival, Panoridim’s biannual concert season, Panfest, and her first National Panorama in Trinidad in 2020, with the BP Renegades Steel Orchestra. While having substantial practical experience with the steelpan, her future musical endeavors include possibly pursuing another degree or continuing some other training in the instrument and honing in on her interests in production and music education. Cherise is intent on developing her musical skills to their full potential and is ready to seize every opportunity presented to do so.

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