Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 25th 2015 Contents B6
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PETER RAY BLOOD
Just five years old, The Diatonic Pan Insti-
tute is an institution all of Siparia can feel
justifiably proud of. Launched in November
2011, and located at the corner of Mary and
Edward Streets, the steelband entity is led
by Keith Dyer and Vernon Dimsoy and
recently hosted its fifth annual anniversary
awards and celebration.
The band s management was in high praise
of assistance received from Siparia parlia-
mentary representative Kamla Persad-Bisses-
sar, and former culture ministers Joan Yuille-
Williams and Winston "Gypsy" Peters.
In fact, it was Peters who, as a government
minister, was instrumental in assisting the
band in procuring its current headquarters.
Diatonic began a Music Literacy Class for
its members and other organisations in
Siparia, under the guidance of Joel Joseph at
the Parish Hall of the La Divina Pastora RC
Church where most of the participants
attained up to Grade 6 and most with dis-
tinctions. This project has been a major suc-
cess to the community.
The band has also been assisted by Father
Martin Sirju, parish priest of the La Divina
Pastora Roman Catholic Church, who has
allowed its musicians the use of his Parish
Hall for these weekly sessions.
Diatonics also gives through other initia-
tives, including lending assistance to several
community groups and schools in the area
in learning to play the national instrument
such as Siparia Rising Stars, Siparia Police
Youth Club, St Christopher s Anglican School,
Siparia Union Presbyterian School, Siparia
Boys RC, St Brigid s Girls RC and this year
the Seventh Day Adventist School. The band
also organises and hosts well-subscribed
annual vacation classes.
Addressing guests at the anniversary appre-
ciation gathering, Byer expounded on the
invaluable contribution of the national instru-
ment in curbing the nation s spiralling crime
rate. He said: "The whole world knows that
the steelpan which was invented in Trinidad
and Tobago is the best crime prevention and
community building tool. The answer to
crime in this country is the steelband move-
Byer alluded the steelpan being used as
weapon against crime by a circuit judge in
St Thomas, US Virgin Islands.
He said in its first year, that project not
only reduced the amount of juveniles coming
before the judge but won the highest award
in America for innovation in crime prevention.
In addition, that project now boasts a 96 per
cent pass rate in academics.
He also revealed that the prestigious New
York University (NYU) has made the steelpan
mandatory for anyone doing percussion stud-
ies regardless of their focus area. He added:
"Murray Narell, an American social worker
(father of world renowned pan musician Andy
Narell) introduced the steelpan to Harlem to
reduce the uncontrollable criminal activities
that was taking place there in the 70s."
Mainly consisting of young musicians, Dia-
tonic is committed to honouring national
cultural icons while educating them on the
contributions of legends, living and dead.
Each year, the band has paid tribute to some
stalwart, local cultural hero including Baron,
Crazy, Lord Nelson, Calypso Rose and Neil
Iwer George, the 2015 awardee.
Diatonic s award ceremony and cultural
show was well attended with members of
the Central Executive and South/Central
Executive of Pan Trinbago present as well as
Yuille-Williams, Point Fortin Mayor, Alderman
Clyde Paul, councillors from the Siparia
Regional Corporation, sponsors, well-wishers
The programme included performances
from Diatonic Pan Institute, Sweetness Ser-
enaders Parang Group and Siparia Rhythm
Section, while awards were given to those
who contributed significantly to the organ-
Among the recipients were Kim Smith
Baksh, Wayne Sylvester, Akeba Scipio, Andy
Neverson, Sheldon Williams, Baltaza Haggard,
Matthew Nurse, Roger Worrell, Thomas Par-
ris, Helen Sealy, Allyson Callender and Yuille-
Siparia tonic for the national instrument....
Steelpan to fight crime
Diatonic performing during the award ceremony.
Former senator Joan Yuille-Williams receives
an award from PLNL HR Generalist Chandra
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