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Ronald Emrit

Engineer, Historian, Panist, Educator

When Steel Talks © 2015

When Steel Talks continues its "Spotlight Series" of shedding light on people who have quietly made significant contributions to the steelband movement. Today we focus on Mr. Ronald Emrit whose work and contribution When Steel Talks recently hailed as Site of the Week in our online pan news section. Through his creation of the "Cultural and Sports History of Trinidad & Tobago" website, Mr. Emrit has put together, what When Steel Talks sees as one of the most relevant and comprehensive online resources on Trinidad & Tobago culture. In addition, Mr. Emrit's steelband web information [Steelband - The Beginning] provides the world with some of the most factual and comprehensive information on the people involved with this magical instrument.

The Cultural and Sports History of Trinidad & Tobago website (BestOfTrinidad.com) is a testament to his talent, dedication and commitment to excellence.  Below, Mr. Emrit shares his thoughts as to why he has engaged in this massive undertaking, with the When Steel Talks  audience.

Ronald Emrit"I left Trinidad for the USA in August 1965 and, on my recent return visits, I have been disappointed by how much my old community, Woodbrook, has changed. The nights have grown darker and quieter, and the residents seem to disappear in their homes.  There is an absence of children on the streets, and an abundance of commercial sites with heavy traffic moving on one-way streets. I concluded that the children of the new millennium will never have the same experiences as I had growing up in an era when the community was residential, and there was excitement, day and night, from cricket and soccer at Queen's Park Oval, soccer at Queen's Park Savannah, steelband music from Invaders and Starlift, ‘mas' from George Bailey, brass music from John "Buddy" Williams, and dancing at the Little Carib Theatre.  I knew many of the forgotten people who made significant national contributions in sports and the arts encompassed by the above activities, and I believe that the children of Trinidad & Tobago should be able to go to the Internet and read about them."  Ronald Emrit

Ronald C. Emrit with the Trinidad Steelband in Washington, DC, at the State Department Christmas Party hosted by the late Senator Robert Kennedy (December 1967)
Ronald C. Emrit with the Trinidad Steelband in Washington, DC, at the State Department Christmas Party hosted by the late Senator Robert Kennedy (December 1967)   all photographs copyright Ronald Emrit

 



 

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PLACE OF BIRTH: Woodbrook, Port of Spain, Trinidad
EDUCATION:
  • Queen's Royal College (QRC)
  • Howard University (BS, Mechanical Engineering, 1970)
  • University of Bridgeport (MS, Mechanical Engineering, 1973)
  • STEELBANDS:
  • Invaders (1961)
  • Starlift (1962 - 1965, 1970)
  • Metronomes (1962)
  • Trinidad Steelband, Washington DC (1965 - 1970)
  • Modern Sounds, Boston, Massachusetts (1974 - 1975)
  • Steel Pan Jam (2010 - 2011)
  • SPECIALTIES:
  • Tenor Pan
  • Double Seconds

  • Ronald C. Emrit with the Trinidad Steelband in front of Frederick Douglass Memorial Hall, Howard University (May 1968)

    CAREER:   Emrit learned to play steelband music after receiving a tenor pan tuned by Emmanuel Riley for Christmas 1960. He promptly joined Invaders for Carnival 1961 and, later that year, teamed up with a small band of QRC students led by Ray Holman for the first performance ever by a steelband at QRC. He moved over to Starlift for Carnival 1962 and played tenor on the band's stage side until leaving in August 1965 for Howard University. He later returned briefly for Carnival 1970 to play tenor in the Panorama Final with Starlift. During his time with Starlift, he played tenor with Metronomes during the 1962 Steelband Music Festival. While at Howard, he played tenor and double seconds with the Trinidad Steelband until his graduation in 1970. While living and working in Boston, Massachusetts, he played tenor and double seconds with the Modern Sounds Steelband in the mid-1970s. In March 2010, he began playing again with backing tracks at various events in Florida and Maryland. The following is a summary of significant events in which Emrit participated:

    • Starlift
    • 1963 Panorama - Final, "A Fool and His Money" (Mighty Sparrow), arranged by Ray Holman
    • 1964 Panorama - 3rd Place, "Bullpistle Gang" (Mighty Sparrow), arranged by Ray Holman
    • 1965 Panorama - Final, "Hold On To Your Man" (Lord Kitchener), arranged by Albert James
    • 1965 Carnival - Best-Beating Steelband, 1st Place, "My Pussin" (Lord Kitchener), arranged by Ray Holman
    • 1970 Panorama - 2nd Place, "Pan Man" (Mighty Sparrow), arranged by Ray Holman
    • Metronomes
    • 1962 Steelband Music Festival - 2nd Place, "Romance in Eb" (Rubinstein), arranged by Gaston Pierre
    • Trinidad Steelband
    • 1967 - U.S. State Department Christmas Party for Foreign Students, hosted by Sen. Robert Kennedy
    • 1968 - Sen. Robert Kennedy Presidential Campaign
    • 1968 - Sen. Hubert Humphrey Presidential Campaign
    • 1968 - Foreign Student Council Reception hosted by Sen. Robert Kennedy, Pan American Union Building with special guest, Sammy Davis, Jr.
    • 1969 - Virgin Islands Float, Inaugural Parade of President Richard M. Nixon
    • 1969 - Guest appearance at performance by Jimmy Durante at Georgetown University
    • 1969 - U.S. Air Force Christmas Ball, Sheraton Hotel, with separate performance by the Count Basie Band
    • Modern Sounds
    • 1975 Panorama - 1st Place, "Streakers" (Lord Kitchener), arranged by Ronald Emrit
    • Steel Pan Jam
    • 2010 - 2013: Performed solo at various events in Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

    When Steel Talks and BestOfTrinidad.com Collaborate