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Caribbean

Published on July 29th, 2015 | by simeon sandiford

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Main Man Mickiel – Modest, Meticulous Merchant of Music

On February 01st 2009, I wrote a Feature  for ultraaudio which began “Most of us lesser mortals struggle through life, clinging tenaciously to the base of Jim Carroll’s proverbial pyramid, hoping to fashion our few grains of silica into something that sounds good. A few, however, simply impress their indelible soles on the sands of time and proceed unhurriedly to the apex. Names such as Plato, Socrates, Alexander the Great, Isaac Newton, Michelangelo, Beethoven, Marie Curie, Mother Theresa, and Albert Einstein immediately come to mind.”

“Members of another elite group reach the pinnacle of Carroll’s pyramid through selfless, dedicated, invaluable lifelong contributions to society in their chosen endeavors. However, their names and deeds almost always pale into insignificance, conjuring up nothing in the mind of the common man. Nevertheless, some facet of their creativity or genius inevitably embraces our daily life. One such person is Keith de Osma Johnson (KOJ).”

August 2015 unveils an avalanche of accolades and acclaim for Mickiel Gabriel, the young Steelpan prodigy, Alumnus of Success Laventille Secondary School. His adaptation of Black Stalin’s Respect the Steelband for full steel orchestra has been commissioned by Pan Trinbago for the International Conference and Panorama (ICP) carded for August 4th to 9th. As a fledgling teenage arranger, he scored the piece for ensembles, in 2010.

Today, Mickiel is the Musical Director of Success Stars Pan Sounds Steel Orchestrawhich inaugurates a cultural/educational exchange between the Governments of Trinidad &Tobago and Cuba, facilitated through the Cuban Institute of Music and Sanch Electronix, from August 22nd to 30th.

I have known Mickiel for three years, working closely with him and his wards through our proprietary Pan in Education pilot programme, being funded by British Gas Trinidad & Tobago (BGTT). The forthright, ‘humbly proud’ manner in which he executes his duties bequeaths lasting impressions.

Mickiel promulgates his entrepreneurial dream, fervently fuelling his profound portfolio with panache, pride, proficiency and passion. He engages his students seamlessly, forever seeking creative ways to eke every iota of their receptivity. My mentor Leroy Clarke says “Boys dream but men dream dreams and have visions.” Keep dreaming dreams, Mickiel. You remind me very much of KOJ.

I have unreservedly identified you, a modest, meticulous merchant of music, as a suitable role model for young Caribbean Music Industry Professionals in their quest for attaining global competitiveness.

Simeon L. Sandiford
Managing Director


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