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TSTT T&T Steelpan and Jazz Festival 2006

In 1996 The Queens Royal College (QRC) Foundation, a Over 400 young musicians recently got the benefit of music lessons from accomplished pianist Canadian Jeremy Ledbetter and Cuban trumpeter Alexis Baro, as part of the TSTT T&T Steelpan and Jazz Festival 2006.

The opportunity came at the Young Musicians’ Workshops which ran from October 24-28 at St Joseph’s Convent, San Fernando, and Queen’s Royal College in Port of Spain.

Ledbetter is leader of Canadian band “CaneFire”, of which Baro is also a member. The band combines Caribbean and Latin rhythms with jazz and blues and incorporates the sounds of the steelpan, saxophone, bass, drums and congas.

The Young Musicians’ Workshops and the T&T Steelpan and Jazz Festival have been organised for several years by the QRC Foundation – and TSTT agreed to be the title sponsor for 2006.

TSTT’s Head of Marketing and Communications, Amoy Van Lowe, said this move represented the company’s continued support for cultural events and, importantly, for the young people of Trinidad and Tobago.

Mortimer Baptiste, executive member of the QRC Foundation, said the 2006 Young Musicians’ Workshops were the most interactive since their inception in 2003.

He explained, “The aim of the workshops is for participants to feel a sense of awe. We want these youngsters to feel connected with people who are more advanced than them, who have worked successfully as musicians outside of this market. Secondly, we want them to learn something and they do…not just the rudiments but the complexity of different types of music – from classical to jazz to blues.”

The T&T Steelpan and Jazz Festival, meanwhile, is in its tenth year – having evolved from being known as “In Celebration of Excellence” and “Pan Royale”.

For the 2006 TSTT T&T Steelpan and Jazz Festival, held from October 23-28, audiences around Trinidad were not only treated to performances from top local entertainers and steelpan orchestras, but also from internationally acclaimed traditional jazz performers like singer Vanessa Rubin and trumpeter Terrence Blanchard.

Baptiste commended TSTT for partnering with the Foundation for this tenth anniversary edition of the Festival, which he described as a resounding success.