Meet Lauren Pierre - Administrator, Planner, Panist - UpClose & Personal!

A When Steel Talks Exclusive

When Steel Talks Exclusive icon

“I truly believe that work shouldn’t feel like work. If steelpan is your passion, work hard at your craft and you will succeed. Be courageous.” –– Lauren Pierre

She is a straight-up game changer. Highly intelligent, skilled and yet she remains humble, caring and true to her belief system. You have seen her work and felt her passion, as this greatly-talented problem-solver walks point in the transformation of the steelband association of Trinidad and Tobago known as Pan Trinbago.

The artform of the steelband is her life and passion. In addition she is immensely in tune with the cultural impact of technology on culture. In a When Steel Talks exclusive - administrator, planner and panist Lauren Pierre shares her zeal for Pan and her vision for the way forward.

WST - “Tell us a little bit about Lauren Pierre?”

Lauren Pierre

Lauren P. - “Grew up in Belmont (B.I.L.), went to Woodbrook Government Secondary. Started working at age 16 (when I finished school) and have been working since while simultaneously pursuing a BBA and MBA. • Simple young woman. Love God, Family, traveling, laughing and seeing people happy. • God is priority in my life - Jesus is my Saviour. It is through Him I am able to do all things. • Outside of Steelpan, I am a Human Resource Professional • Hard worker, results-oriented, solution-focused. • Humility and kindness are key.”

WST - “When and how were you first introduced to the steelpan instrument?”

Lauren P. - “In Form 2 – my school, Woodbrook Secondary, formed a steelband to enter the Junior Panorama competition using Invaders Steel Orchestra steelpans.”

WST - “You are an administrator for Platinum Steel Orchestra, an all-female steelband. How does this fact [all-female] impact on the managing approach you bring to this franchise?”

Lauren P. - “I am one of the founders/managers for Platinum Steel Orchestra (have to mention Jenna James and Khadine Nichols.  When Panorama time comes and my time is focused on Pan Trinbago, they are the pillar of strength for the band) • Because of where we were located, it was difficult at times to have females join our band; however in terms of the management aspect, there is not much difference. Our goals are clear and respect is paramount by all.”

WST - “You are an organizer, performing artist, steelpan player, administrator and most importantly a mentor to the younger members. Which role defines you best? And which do you like the most?”

Lauren P. - “Defines me best – Organizer: God has truly given me this gift • Like the most – Mentor to younger members:  We all need mentors and it’s an honor to be able to provide that service to others.”

WST - “There are now more women this year than ever before in key positions of leadership within the overall steelband movement in Trinidad and Tobago. What are your expectations in this regard?”

Lauren P. - “I expect to see more and more women involved. Removing gender, we just need people who are committed to getting the job done.”

WST - “In a relatively short time you have single-handedly contributed much to changing the global image of Pan Trinbago through your skills and forward-thinking. What is the greatest challenge you face?”

Lauren P. - “With a President like Beverley Ramsey-Moore, the image of Pan Trinbago was sure to change! • The greatest challenge sometimes starts with us. More focus should be placed on the positives. Also, as simple as it sounds; if every pan person shares Pan Trinbago activities, like our social media pages, events, etc. – this would make a DIFFERENCE • We ALL have to contribute to the continued CHANGE.”

WST - “COVID-19 has been called a “once-in-a-100-years” pandemic. And therefore many of the issues now faced are unprecedented. How have you met these creative, technological and health challenges - professionally, and personally?”

Lauren P. - “Professionally – I am a critical thinker and I usually adapt well to change. I’m always thinking about the solution over the problem. I had to learn new skills and different aspects of technology. Overall – a learning process • Personally – At points it has been challenging, but I have been able to share more time with my mom and with the Lord so that has been amazing. He is my peace; He keeps me still and has truly been my Jehovah Jireh during this time. Other than that… Gyms are closed, and I miss that a lot!  LOL.”

WST - “In addition to your Platinum Steel Orchestra duties, you were recently promoted to the position of Treasurer for Pan Trinbago. It’s no secret that you have had a tremendous positive impact on the Pan Trinbago brand. Why have you been so successful?”

Lauren P. - “Change of portfolio, not promoted. My portfolio was simply changed. • It’s again humbling to note that I have had a positive impact on the Pan Trinbago brand. I honestly just go about doing the work that needs to be done. • Why? I would say my work ethic. We are always being observed, even when we are not aware. Whatever you do, do with quality. Pan Trinbago is excellence, so what we do must reflect same.”

Lauren Pierre
Lauren Pierre

WST - “With your ongoing professionalism and continued diligence, what do you expect to change ASAP within the organization?”

Lauren P. - “Continued transformation. • The narrative that speaks to dependency – to one of self-reliance and sustainability.”

WST - “And what can one reasonably expect in terms of you balancing the needs of players - versus that of the bands?”

Lauren P. - “Our 1st responsibility is to our membership (bands), however this executive appreciates our players as well, as seen with our recently launched Social Prosperity Fund - which provides assistance (pressing needs) to our Bands and their members (players), and our Telethon which showcased the talents of both bands and players.”

Lauren Pierre at Pan Trinbago’s Social Prosperity Fund
Lauren Pierre at Pan Trinbago’s Social Prosperity Fund

WST - “Who is your favorite arranger and why?”

Lauren P. - “I honestly don’t have a favorite – yet.”

WST - “What are a few of your favorite arrangements over the years?”

Lauren P. - “I love pan. Ask me about the arrangement – Not my forte LOL. But I love to hear people play “Lorraine” by Explainer, LOL.”

WST - “Who are your musical influences?”

Lauren P. - “Take me to Teddy Pendergrass, Betty Wright, Marvin Gaye any day.”

WST - “What are your feelings on the embracing of popular tunes by the large steel orchestras for Panorama?”

Lauren P. - “Welcomed.”

WST - “What is the greatest challenge facing this current generation of steelband musicians from both an administrator’s perspective, and that of a player?”

Lauren P. - “Extended opportunities.”

WST - “What keeps your passion for the instrument, the music and art form going?”

Lauren P. - “I don’t even know if I can explain it. Pan has been a part of me. From the first day I played the instrument to date. Pan remains in me – unexplainably. Steelpan has done so much for me personally. And can do so much more for others. – This too, keeps me going.”

WST - “You play the pan. Are there any other instruments you play?”

Lauren P. - “I learned to play guitar – not sure if I remember anything but it was fun. LOL”

WST - “Do you prefer/play a specific voice of the steelpan instrument?”

Lauren P. - “Give me the bass, all day, every day.”

WST - “If you had the power to change something in Pan immediately what would that be?”

Lauren P. - “Debt-free Pan Trinbago • The perception of Steel Bands by most. I concur that “Pan is much more than entertainment and should be employed to develop human capital, improve lives, and be a vehicle of social transformation”- BRM”

WST - “What have you been most proud about as it relates to Pan?”

Lauren P. - “Its revolution and its accomplishments • 1st National Panorama in Tobago – Medium • More youth service in the Regional and Central Executives.”

WST - “What disappoints you the most in the steelband movement?”

Lauren P. - “N/A”

WST - “Do you believe women are finally getting the acknowledgment and opportunities they deserve?”

Lauren P. - “There is a time and season for everything, so yes, the due acknowledgement is present.”

WST - “What would be your advice to the thousands of young female panists all over the world who are dreaming of becoming involved with the steelpan instrument as a career move?”

Lauren P. - “I truly believe that work shouldn’t feel like work. If steelpan is your passion, work hard at your craft and you will succeed. Be courageous.”

WST - “How would you describe your personal journey with Pan?”

Lauren P. - “Like a marriage – without divorce.”

WST - “As a female, were you ever dissuaded from being involved in the steelband art form?”

Lauren P. - “Not in my era. I am fortunate.”

WST - “What is Panorama to you?”

Lauren P. - “Pure bliss.  Truly the greatest show on earth.”

WST - “What does the future of Pan in Trinidad and Tobago look like from your point of view?”

Lauren P. - “Progress. We are now pegged with the Ministry of Tourism, and this looks quite fruitful. • The emergence of young persons is also evident and encouraging. They are coming with higher education, musically literate and participating in all aspects (playing, arranging, tuning, tutoring, new ideas).”

WST - “What is your vision for the steelpan instrument itself?”

Lauren P. - “To name a few:  1 - Spreading of the instrument globally; 2 - Greater mainstream acceptance; 3 - Every citizen must be able to play (basics) their national instrument.”

WST - “With the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 events, generally, in their traditional format are uncertain at this point. What are your thoughts, hopes, expectations for the steelband art form, in the immediate future?”

Lauren P. - “We (Pan Trinbago) are guided by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago amid COVID–19. • Our industry is at a halt, so we would continue to seek redress for our member bands. • More virtual events that can generate revenue.”

Lauren Pierre
Lauren Pierre, with Pan Trinbago flag

WST - “‘Pan before Band’. What does that mean to you in a concrete way?”

Lauren P. - “There is no SteelBand, without SteelPan. • Steelpan, our gift to the world – the more we focus on its development, the better for everyone else involved.”

WST - “Are there any other steelband-related matters you would like to bring forward?”

Lauren P. - “For those who require assistance (or can contribute), feel free to visit our website at via our Social Prosperity Fund.”

- Website Link:  click here

- How to Donate:  click here

- How to Apply:   click here

- Follow our Social Media pages @pantrinbago

photos provided by Lauren Pierre

  Platinum Steel Orchestra / “Unknown band” / Panorama 2016

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