Mia Gormandy in Concert
Northern Illinois University Panist Shines
DeKalb, Illinois, USA - “The thing that has impressed me the most about Mia has been her personality. In addition to her talent and work ethic, she is a wonderful person to be around. When Mia first came to Northern Illinois University (NIU), she had already gained a growing reputation as one of the best up and coming young steelpan talents in Trinidad. Like any other young talent, she had a number of areas that needed development and I think that she recognized that from early and never got too caught up in the hype. Over the 4 years that she has been at NIU I have seen her skills as a musician grow drastically. She has demonstrated a great work ethic and has brought a lot of energy to the NIU Steelband.
“Mia recently became one of the joint winners of NIU’s concerto competition. She played a concerto for steelpan and orchestra by Illinois composer Jan Bach. This piece was originally written for me and I felt so proud to see Mia win such an important competition. She had to compete against some of the university’s top musical talents and a victory like this definitely bodes well not only for her future, but for the steelpan in general.
“She intends to stay on at NIU for her masters degree and already has thoughts of pursuing a doctorate. It has been a joy to work with this young lady and I look forward to seeing her mature even more as a person and musician.” - Liam Teague -
About the beautiful and super-talented Mia Gormandy
Mia Krystal Gormandy was born in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad on August 27th, 1988. Her musical gift prompted her keen interest in the pan and piano in the family home. She was exposed to a number of competitions and shows where musical excellence was the hallmark. The mayor of Port-of-Spain - the capital of Trinidad and Tobago - and a number of recognized groups in the country, rewarded her talents.
In 1995 at age 5, Mia’s obvious competence on the steel pan persuaded her parents to sign her up for formal music lessons, both on the piano and the pan. By age seven (7), Mia’s musical talents had her on winners’ row. Her debut performance was at City Hall, Port-of-Spain. Mia walked away with the grand first prize. Because of her proven ability on the pan, in August of 1998 Mia received a “Pan Minors Scholarship” sponsored by The Republic Bank Ltd. of Trinidad and Tobago to pursue advanced studies on the pan at the Creative Arts Centre at the University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, Trinidad. Mia also became a member of one of her country’s leading steel orchestras, Neal & Massy Trinidad All Stars, and was honored to be part of the band’s complement when they entered the competition “Pan is Beautiful IX.” She represented the band in the soloist category, and went on to place first (1st) in the North Zone.
In August of 2000, Mia won the “Something Positive” pan competition at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York; the first prize was a scholarship to attend the college - but at age 11 Mia was too young to accept!! She also won Citibank’s Twelve & Under series. Her pieces on pan were “Ever Green” and “Masquerade”. Her winnings took her to Disney World.
In 2001, Mia enjoyed being a musical ambassador when she traveled with Neal & Massy Trinidad All Stars to Australia, where she performed as a Soloist with the band which was very well received. Participating in the “Pan in Schools” competition, Mia walked away with the 1st prize in a field of 46 competitors. She also claimed first place honours in the Pan Trinbago Junior competition.
Mia continued to garner awards in 2002 including the Dennis Kerr Cup for the “Most Outstanding Instrumental Performance” with her rendition of “Flight of the Bumble Bee.” In December of that year, one of her country’s premier secondary educational institutions - St. Joseph’s Convent in Port-of-Spain - awarded Mia “The Myrna Huggins Wood House Memorial Trophy” for Excellence in Music – pan and piano. This was the first time in the history of the school that this award was given.
2003 was a very busy and rewarding year for Mia as well. After competing against 15 contestants and performing Rimsky Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumble Bee,” Mia emerged “Miss Hal Jackson’s Talented Teen - Trinidad and Tobago.” She then went on to represent her country in the “Hal Jackson’s Talented Teens International Scholarship Competition” held in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, where she was 1st runner up. This placed pan ‘second’ in the world. In October, Mia once more triumphed in the pan solo category in both the Pan Trinbago Junior and Pan in Schools competitions. She then went on to represent Trinidad and Tobago in the “Caribbean Junior Pan Festival” in Antigua, where placing first made her the top panist in the Caribbean for 2003. To crown her sterling achievements, Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra Association rewarded the proud and talented Mia.
In 2004, Mia was recognized by the Port-of-Spain Corporation Calypso Committee under the patronage of the mayor for her musical achievements in 2003. Also, Mia and St. Joseph’s Convent, Port-of-Spain represented Trinidad and Tobago in Vienna, Austria at the International Youth Music Festival where they placed second, with Mia performing her solo piece “Flight of the Bumble Bee,” which was well received by thousands of people. At age 15, she received a full scholarship to attend Northern Illinois University (NIU) in Illinois, USA.
In 2005, The University of Akron Annual Steelband concert was graced by the performance of their featured artist, the by-then 16 year old Mia Gormandy. She was then a surprise guest at the NIU Steelband Concert that same weekend.
Presently, Mia is attending NIU and pursuing a performance degree in music. Her most recent achievement is winning the NIU Concerto Competition in 2008 along with three other competitors. She performed her winning selection “Steelpan Concerto” composed by Jan Bach in February 2009 with the NIU Philharmonic Orchestra. Mia will graduate with full University Honors in May 2009. She then plans to do her Masters degree in Education and Conducting at NIU. read comments on Mia’s performance
Update - Mia Gormandy-Benjamin is now an Assistant Professor of Music at University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT)Leave a comment