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UK

Published on March 16th, 2015 | by Ray Funk - Trinidad Guardian Newspapers

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Pan icon Terry Noel honoured by Queen

Terry Noel, the longtime Leader of the Melodians Steel Orchestra UK went to Windsor Castle on March 6 this year where Queen Elizabeth II awarded him with an MBE, Member of the Order of the British Empire, for his contribution to steelbands in the UK. It was a fitting honor for a leader in the globalisation of pan.  In December last year, the band also issued their third album, Melodians Magic, the first album in many years. Both serve to recognise a long career in pan education.

Terry and the Queen had a brief conversation and discussed the fact that the Melodians had played for the Queen at her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 as well as three garden parties at Buckingham Palace and eight years ago at the Commonwealth Day Services in Westminster Abbey.  For Terry Noel, it was the best. “It was a fantastic and memorable day. It was nice to know the Queen remembered the Melodians and enjoyed their playing.” The Melodians had a big celebration with friends, family and supporters the next evening and Terry wore his special outfit to play the basses with the band.

From Coryal Village to Arima to London. Terry Noel left Trinidad after being a police officer in the mounted branch and travelled to England to become first a psychiatric nurse and later a youth social worker. He retired after serving over 15 years as a magistrate. But he never was far from pan. He played in the police steel band in Trinidad and in Esso Tripoli.  In England he first formed a group called the Groovers and later after a spell in Trinidad returned to the UK. Noel founded Melodians, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2012. He took the name of the Arima band he had just been playing in when he founded the band in London and ever since he has been the one connection between the two bands. All along, he taught pan in public schools in addition to his day job.

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