Highlanders Steel Orchestra
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Hilanders (also known as Highlanders and Hi Landers) was founded in the 1950s by Kim Loy Wong who was the band's tuner, arranger, and manager. Wong left for the the USA in 1959 and the band's leadership was assumed by Bertie Marshall who became the band's leader and tuner. Hilanders ceased functioning in the 1970s when Marshall joined Desperadoes. Hilanders finished among the top three steelbands in the following significant competition:
|Compiled by Ronald C. Emrit
Additional info by Gideon Maxime - Steelband Showcase - 23rd January, 2002
In the early days, there was a band by the name of “Armed Forces” which was led by Bertie Marshall and which performed at the US Naval Base at Chaguaramas At the same time there was a band called “Highlanders” which operated from Jackson Hill, East Dry River.
Bertie Marshall was a tuner of steelband and was invited by Kimloy Wong to assist with the tuning of the pans of “Highlanders”.
In the intervening years Kimloy migrated and Bertie Marshall took over the band Highlanders as Captain, Tuner and Arranger.
It should be noted that Armed Forces was not a road band but Highlanders was.
It was only natural therefore that with Bertie Marshall’s prowess his experimentation would come to the fore and so it did with Highlanders.
The band now acquired a spot on the Old St. Joseph Road near Erica Street and this became the band’s headquarters.
Highlanders have had an impressive record of victories in the Bomb competition. A number of pan renditions have found their way into pan history such as “Gypsy Rhonda”, Italiana in Algiers, Let every valley be exalted, and a Waltz from the opera “Faust”.
The Tuner and Captain of the band was Bertie Marshall who was responsible for the unbelievable “Bertpone”
There were men in Highlanders in the days of glory such as Leslie “Professor” Slater of Gypsy Rhonda, and “Mama this is Mas” fame, Johnny Phillip, Franklyn Ollivierra, Beresford Peterson and in administration “Keith Smith, Teddy Belgrave, Tony Morris, Clive Broomes and Kenny Sanford
One of the highlights of the band was in 1963 when with Fr. John Sewell the band made an LP and played great music at the Trinity Cathedral. 1977 was however the last year the band played on the road.