On the evening of October 24th, PETE,
proprietary interactive educational software, was launched at the Trinidad and Tobago High Commission to the UK. The twenty-seven distinguished attendees included Robert Riley, Group Head of Safety and Culture at BP, Pepe Francis MBE, chairman of The British Association of Steelbands, author/poet Clarence Thompson MBE, Marie Genis, artistic director of Culture Mix Carnival Music and Arts, Terrence Houlihan, managing director of TDI International and Charles Brewster, Managing Director of NAMAX Ltd. The Centre for Development of Enterprise a division of the EU, facilitators of a ‘go to market’ UK mission for Sanch Electronix, was represented by consultants John Gavin of G4h, Hannah Pewter of Interactive Software Development, and Clare Walsh of The Metia Group.Karen Thomas, Trade and Business Facilitator extended greetings on behalf of Ambassador H.E. Garvin Nicholas who was unavoidably absent. John Gavin, the function’s host, introduced Simeon Sandiford who gave a succinct presentation ofPETE
, the animated Steelpan instructor. Sandiford explained that his vision was to extend the outreach of the software globally in a way that would simultaneously change the mode of delivery and dramatically reduce the cost of music education using technology and indigenous rhythms.To this end, Sanch would be partnering with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago through the Distance Learning Secretariat of The Ministry of Tertiary Education and Skills Training to build a Learning Management System for online delivery of a curriculum entitled Pan in Education
up to tertiary level. Sandiford demonstrated some of the new features of the upgraded PETE
Interface, including twenty-four major and harmonic minor scales, twelve short movies encompassing Steelpan playing techniques, aspects of Trinidad and Tobago’s unique cultural mix and a Korean Folk Song written for conventional musical instruments but adapted and scored for Steelpan ensembles by arranger Yohan Popwell.Paul Seaforth, Chairman of Sanch Canada Inc outlined the recent introduction of Pan in Education
in the Toronto Diaspora, centered on a community-based summer initiative for young people, called IMPACT. Participants were tutored by Andre Rouse, Musical Director of Souls of Steel Orchestra and given insight into aspects of the Pan in Education
curriculum including Ensemble Management, Music Literacy and Music Production. The programme concluded with recording and production of a CD entitledThe Arrival
for Souls of Steel Orchestra,
which would be launched in early November.
The ensuing healthy debate covered recording of Steelpan music for commercial exploitation as well as composing Steelpan scores for films and plays. Sandiford promised to collaborate with Patrick Mc Kay to archive the repertoire of St. Michael’s Youth in Brent London. Fare for the evening was provided by Heart and Soul Caterers, courtesy the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago.
Simeon L. Sandiford