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America

Published on June 24th, 2013 | by Ray Funk - Trinidad Guardian Newspapers

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Mannette’s manager passes on

The American steelpan movement lost one of its most influential agents with the passing of Kaethe George early last Tuesday morning. Ms George was a pan enthusiast, impresario, and is best known as the business manager of legendary panman Ellie Mannette and administrative brains behind Mannette Steel Drums, Ltd in Morgantown, West Virginia.

George was an older daughter of Joseph and Inez George from Perry, Georgia. Her first exposure to steelpan was in the late 1970s when her parents formed a family steelband called the Steel Bandits with their 12 adopted children. Ellie Mannette came to Georgia and built an entire set of instruments for the band, forever changing the course of George’s life. The George family was an ambitious one and the new Steel Bandits performed throughout the American south, the Grammys in 1992, and the White House at the request of President Ronald Reagan.

George was never a member of the Steel Bandits, however, she was fascinated by the instrument and the cultural history of steelpan. She earned a bachelors degree in theatre from Georgia State University in 1979 and was a natural arts administrator. She became Mannette’s business manager shortly thereafter forging a relationship that for over a quarter century became essential for Mannette’s financial health and artistic development.

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