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Merle Albino-de Coteau - Personal Bio

Mrs. Merle Albino-de Coteau is a retired Director of Culture, in the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Women’s Affairs. She is a daughter of the soil having being born into a musical family in Success Village, Laventille (Republic of Trinidad and Tobago).

Albino-de Coteau, besides being an organist at the Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church, in Success Village, Laventille is a teacher/lecturer at several institutions throughout Trinidad and Tobago (T&T). She is also the Music Director of Music Makers, a music school that was founded thirty (30) years ago at which she continues to use her expertise in guiding the students to success in their music education. Albino-de Coteau is Editor of the book “Learning Can Be Fun.”

Merle Abino-de Coteau
Merle Albino-de Coteau

Mrs. Albino-de Coteau, a graduate of Mc Gill University, Canada and of the University of the West Indies (UWI) is also the holder of several awards for contribution to music in T&T. She was honoured on the twentieth (20th) anniversary of the National Woman’s Action Committee for her contribution to Culture, in particular the Calypso Aft form in February 2004. She is also one of the recipients of a Kwanza Award (2001), a nation award, the Humming Bird Medal (1993), and a Sunshine Awards (1989) at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), for her contribution to culture, particularly for calypso and steelband activities.

Her experience as an arranger began way back in 1969 with Chase Manhattan Bank Savoys (now-defunct) which gave her the distinction of being the first Female to arrange a Panorama Selection (1972) “Mas in May” by Sparrow. She continued arranging for several bands, including her school’s steelband, Mt. Hope Junior Secondary “Is de Mas’ in We” by Sparrow and Music Makers’ “Toco Band” by Kitchener, and the Pan Handlers Steel Orchestra for whom she arranged “Ritual Fire Dance” by De Falla for “Pan is Beautiful” II in 1982.

Mrs. Albino-de Coteau is still an adjudicator of many competitions including the World’s Steelband Music Festival (2002-2004); Panorama in T&T (from 1973-2005); Panoramas in Antigua, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent; Labour Day in Brooklyn, NY (since 1975-2004); Montreal Carnival (from 1980-86); Music Festivals in Grenada and St. Vincent (in 1980s); Parang Competitions (1991-1995); the National Joint Action Committee (NJAC) Calypso Competitions (1980-2004), City Bank’s “Twelve and Under” (1994-2002), with Hazel Ward Redman and “Scouting for Talent” (a talent show in T&T) from (2000-2002).

She is a lecturer for the Republic Bank Pan Minors Scholarship Programme, and at the Centre for Creative and Festival Arts (CCFA) at UWI. She is currently Programme Co-ordinator for the National Steel Orchestra of Trinidad and Tobago (NSOTT), and the Co-ordinator of the music literacy programme for Pan Trinbago’s Pan Tuning Programme. She has been a panelist on many a forum, including a recent Symposium on the Contribution of Women to the Steelband Movement at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, USA.

Mrs. Albino-de Coteau is also one of the examiners for the Solo Pan Examinations at the CCFA, of the UWI. She also conducts steelband courses in Invaders’ Panyard for nurses attached to Port-of-Spain General and St. Ann’s hospitals. She teaches youth in St. Mathias Church in the Laventille area to play pan. Mrs. Albino-de Coteau is married and is the mother of Michael de Coteau and grandmother of Nyasha and Aneysha de Coteau.

© and courtesy Merle Albino-de Coteau

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