Celebration of Women and the Steelpan Art Form

Tribute To Women In Pan

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Louise McIntosh of the Pan Pipers Music School - Trinidad & Tobago

She was a former student of the great music phenom, Winifred Atwell. And as the founder of and an educator at the Pan Pipers Music School, she provided the entree point and stepping stone to the careers of many great Trinidad and Tobago musicians.

In 2005 Ms. Louise McIntosh was awarded the Gold Public Service Medal of Merit for outstanding and meritorious service to Trinidad and Tobago in the sphere of music.

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Louise McIntosh

Founder and principal of the Pan Pipers Music School in St. Augustine, and Holder of the ARCM from the Royal College of Music, London, she has been arranging for the steelband since 1966 and has conducted successfully at "Pan is Beautiful" I, II, & III competitions, reaching the finals on all occasions. Miss McIntosh represented Trinidad & Tobago with Pan Pipers in 1985 at a Non-aligned Youth Festival in New Delhi, India.

Miss Louise McIntosh who was a student of the Trinidadian musician Winifred Atwell.

Students of Pan Pipers Music School have won numerous awards and trophies at the biennial Trinidad & Tobago Music Festival and have launched successful careers in music both in Trinidad and Tobago and abroad.

Louise McIntosh, founder of the Pan Pipers Music School in St. Augustine, east Trinidad, passed away on Sunday, September 6, 2009.

The institution has trained such musicians as Chantal Esdelle, Satanand Sharma and Kwame Ryan.  

At Pan Pipers, youngsters were introduced to several instruments including pan, piano, flute and violin; McIntosh entered a mixed ensemble in Trinidad & Tobago's biannual music festival, having pan compete against other conventional instruments. This move in 1976 was a very radical one, and the music festival organisers tried to have Louise's students disqualified.

Even in the 70s - and in the 'home' of pan - it was considered not quite a 'real' instrument. Not only were Louise's students eventually allowed by the foreign adjudicator to perform -- they came second. In following years they won repeatedly. Louise McIntosh's first link with the steelband world came in 1966 when she first arranged for Hilltones in Tunapuna. Although they did not move past the semi-finals, Harold Headley from Tripoli - who lived nearby - copied McIntosh's arrangement and with it, won the solo competition.

Louise McIntosh was a quiet, charming, dignified and talented musician and teacher who was much loved by her students. Her legacy remains in the many who are now recognized and career musicians in their own right.

by Kim Johnson

"...As a past pupil of Pan Pipers I can only reiterate what so many of my fellows have said, that she not only exhumed an excellent standard in performance from all of us but also equipped us with a sense of community,... purpose, discipline, and responsibility that we have been able to exercise in our personal and professional lives. She guided us to numerous music festival champion performances as pianists, panists, and vocalists, trained me, Chantal Esdelle, and Harold Headley to become two of Trinidad and Tobago’s Champion pan soloists, and furnished local programmes like “Twelve and Under”, “Teen Talent”, and “Dateline” with guests, participants, and winners alike.
As a part of the Tunapuna community Louise led the steelbands in her area to several Pan is Beautiful Steelband Music Festival finals; Klondykes and Pan Pipers in Pan is Beautiful I and II, and Exodus Steel Orchestra in Pan is Beautiful III. This was no more than a continuation of a legacy she began with Hilltones Steel Orchestra of Tunapuna which she conducted at the National Steelband Festival in 1966, a feat that earned her the accolade of being the first woman to conduct in the steelband music festival. Just as there are many who encountered her in the steelband world there are many others who were touched by her work as a music teacher and choir mistress in the Primary and Secondary school system where she served as a teacher for twenty-six years teaching at Tunapuna Anglican, Morvant Anglican, All Saints E.C., St. Phillips Anglican, St. Augustine Senior Comprehensive, Tranquility Secondary, Tunapuna Secondary, and Rio Claro Secondary.
 Ms. McIntosh was dedicated to family as can be attested to by those who can easily call her mummy: Pat, Lynda, Lystra, and Rachel and by her niece and nephew and great niece and great nephews. Louise has been honoured for her work by the country (Medal of Merit, Gold), her community, and her alma mater (Bishop Anstey Girls High School)."

by Chantal Esdelle 

Louise McIntosh
Louise McIntosh

In 2005 Ms. Louise McIntosh was awarded the Gold Public Service Medal of Merit for outstanding and meritorious service to Trinidad and Tobago in the sphere of music.


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