Great music from St Margaret’s Boys

Methanol Holdings Trinidad Limited (MHTL) Director left; Erwin Keutner, Chief Justice and Mrs Ivor Archie, MHTL Chairman Dr Euric Bobb; MHTL Chief Executive Officer Dennis Patrick; MHTL Director Joseph Cassidy and MHTL Director David Cassidy pose during the cocktail reception before the 'Belmont to Carnegie' performance at the Queen's Hall last Thursday.


There were barely any vacant seats available inside the prestigious Queen’s Hall theatre last Thursday, as enthusiastic patrons assembled to pay tribute to the talented voices and musicians of St Margaret’s Boys’ Anglican Primary School.

Dubbed “Belmont to Carnegie”, the event was designed to showcase the engaging repertoire of the St Margaret’ Boys’ Steel Orchestra prior to their historic performance at the world famous Carnegie Hall in New York City on June 17.

Sponsored by Methanol Holdings Trinidad Limited (MHTL) to the tune of US$100,000, the young orchestra will participate in the 2015 New York Sounds of Summer International Music Festival and become only the first steelband to perform at Carnegie Hall since the famed Witco Desperadoes in 1987.

The St Margaret’s Boys’ Steel Orchestra is a product of a successful pan programme initiated by the Belmont school for children aged ten to 18 from the Belmont community.

The programme aims to get these youngsters off the streets and away from negative elements by giving them training in and access to the national instrument at a pivotal age. Since its inception in 2002, the St Margaret’s Steel Orchestra has been the recipient of many awards.

Chief Justice, Ivor Archie and his wife Diane; House Speaker, Wade Mark; Opposition Leader, Dr Keith Rowley and his wife, Sharon; and even former Prime Minister, Basdeo Panday, and his wife, Oma, were all in attendance, along with many other dignitaries and Government officials. Applause echoed throughout the night as the orchestra performed an extensive repertoire of classic, contemporary and popular selections from all genres of music.

Assisted by their junior pan ensemble, the school stage side and the choir ensemble, St Margaret’s Boys’ Anglican Primary School provided several hours of great music and entertainment.

The gathering was also addressed by one of the founders of the “Friends of St Margaret’s Boys’ Steel Orchestra” organisation, Martin Daly, as well as by Methanol Holdings Trinidad Ltd chairman, Dr Euric Bobb – who delivered brief but encouraging remarks.

“MHTL was naturally drawn to this venture because first we saw our children – that precious resource in securing our nation’s future,” Bobb said. “Secondly, we recognised the challenging circumstances of the community – struggling to raise the quality of life – sometimes against great odds. Then, we were invoked at the resolve of parents, teachers, the community and other stakeholders such as Martin (Daly), to take these children of ours to the very top of the mountain. Not only to see a brighter future for themselves, but also to reach beyond the dreams of their elders…

“Last and certainly not least, here was a rare opportunity to showcase our national instrument – to proclaim loudly and on a world stage – that the steelpan is our invention!”

Without a doubt, every patron left the arena with a smile that evening – confident not only with the assurance that Trinidad and Tobago will be well represented at Carnegie Hall later this month, but also that the steelpan was in good hands and the young people of Belmont were occupying their time and energy in gainful and highly commendable pursuits of excellence.