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Dr. Ray Holman

Musician, educator, and holder of a Hummingbird Medal (Silver) Award, Mr. Ray Holman grew up surrounded by the pan yard of the ‘40s and ‘50s in his hometown where he started with Invaders Steel Orchestra in 1957 at 13 years old and composing his first original piece ‘Ray’s Saga’.

Musician, educator, and holder of a Hummingbird Medal (Silver) Award, Mr. Ray Holman grew up surrounded by the pan yard of the ‘40s and ‘50s in his hometown where he started with Invaders Steel Orchestra in 1957 at 13 years old and composing his first original piece ‘Ray’s Saga’.

From 1963 onwards, Mr. Holman has been involved in several steel bands including Starlift Steelband, Phase II Pan Groove, Exodus, Skiffle Bunch, and Invaders Steel Orchestra, throughout the years, to name a few. Mr. Holman made history in 1972 when Starlift performed his original composition, ‘Pan on the Move’ at Panorama – the very first original composition to be played at the annual steelband competition. In the following years, his original compositions included ‘Pan Woman’, ‘Life’s Too Short’, ‘Steelband Paradise’ and ‘Heroes of the Nation’, and he paved the way for future savants to compose for Panorama.

He completed his degree in Sociology and Spanish at The UWI St Augustine, and immediately began teaching Spanish and History at Fatima College upon completing his studies. Mr. Holam has served as a Spanish interpreter at the 1974 CONCACAF Conference, a member of the Bureau of Standards Committee, and a board member of the Trinidad and Tobago Copyright Organization.

His career in music has carried him throughout the Caribbean, North and South America, Europe, and Asia as a composer, arranger, performer, co-director, festival adjudicator, artist-in-residence, guest artiste, and university faculty member. Between 2000 and today, Mr. Holman composed and arranged over 300 songs for steelbands and events and has performed internationally. In 2010, homage was paid to him in the Tribute to Ray Holman Concert at Queen’s Hall, Port-of-Spain. In 2020, he added ‘vocalist’ to the list of his professions with the release of his 6th album, First Love.

He has also been granted the Award for Contribution to Steelband Music from the Society of Young Achievers, the Award from Trinidad and Tobago Folk Arts Institute as a Legend of Pan, the Award from the Carnival Commission for Musical Contribution to Carnival, the Ellie Mannette Award for Excellence in Steelband Music, and the Award from Pan Trinbago. His accolades include induction into the Queen’s Royal College Hall of Fame, and he was named as one of the 50 national icons of Trinidad and Tobago at the commemoration of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago’s 50th Anniversary of Independence.

In October of 2021, Mr. Ray Anthony Holman was named a distinguished recipient of an honorary Doctor of Letters (DLitt) from The University of the West Indies (The UWI) St. Augustine for his outstanding contributions to regional and international development.


Dr. Mia Gormandy-Benjamin

Mia Gormandy-Benjamin is an Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT). A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Gormandy-Benjamin received a Bachelor of Music degree (2009) and a Master of Music degree (2011) in steelpan performance from Northern Illinois University (NIU).

Mia Gormandy-Benjamin is an Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT). A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Gormandy-Benjamin received a Bachelor of Music degree (2009) and a Master of Music degree (2011) in steelpan performance from Northern Illinois University (NIU). She then received a second Master of Music degree (2013) and a Doctor of Philosophy degree (2017) in ethnomusicology from Florida State University (FSU). Her doctoral research focused on the history and performance practices of steelpan musicians in Japan. Dr. Gormandy-Benjamin has performed in several different countries around the world including Austria, Australia, England, Japan, the United States, Canada, and countries of the Caribbean. Several committees awarded her over the years including the Laventille Steelband Festival Foundation and the Port-of-Spain City Corporation. Dr. Gormandy-Benjamin has been the recipient of several grants including the Howard Mayer Brown Fellowship presented by the American Musicological Society and the Carol Krebs Research Fellow Award granted by Florida State University. She is the co-founder of the global steelpan project called the Virtual Steelband where 22 countries with over 300 pannists are registered with the organization. She later worked on the “Pan in Unity” project as a response to the 2020 pandemic, which featured 691 musicians from 23 countries. Dr. Gormandy-Benjamin is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PanNotation, an online portal that facilitates the sale of steelpan scores and features a subscription-based library for pan educators. She is also a long-time member of the renowned Massy Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra, where she serves as a performer, transcriber, conductor, and educator. She also serves as a television commentator for Panorama, the largest steelband competition in the world. 


Tom Miller

Tom Miller’s vast experience as a performing percussionist, steel drummer, composer, arranger and educator has made him one of the most respected and sought after soloists and clinicians today.

Tom Miller’s vast experience as a performing percussionist, steel drummer, composer, arranger and educator has made him one of the most respected and sought after soloists and clinicians today.  Tom has performed worldwide with his own popular group Pan Ramajay, with other notable pan artists, Andy Narell, Ray Holman, Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, and Othello Molineaux.  Tom has also been a featured guest performer at Trinidad and Tobago’s annual “Pan and Jazz Festival,” on several occasions.  Other collaborations have produced work with Calypso vocal artist, David Rudder; jazz drummer, Peter Erskine; percussionist, Luis Conte; composer, Vince Mendoza; bassist Michael Manring; woodwind virtuoso, Paul McCandless; Germany’s famed WDR Big Band; the Berkeley Symphony under the direction of Kent Nagano and as a member of the Windham Hill recording group, Montreux.  He has added his unique style of percussive touch to numerous recordings covering a variety of musical styles with artists such as Grammy award winners, Allison Krause and the late John Denver, and Venezuelan songstress, Maria Marquez.  Tom’s playing has also been featured on film scores for the movies, CommandoNina Takes a Lover, and The Mystic Masseur, as well as ads for Minute Maid, Sony, the SIMs computer games and many others.

     Tom is equally as comfortable in the studio as a producer having produced and mixed several critically acclaimed steel band recordings for his own group, Pan Ramajay, as well as master pannist, Ray Holman, The Chabot Panhandlers Steel Orchestra, the Miami University Steel Band and the Lamont Steel Drum Ensemble.  He is the founder of the chamber steel drum ensemble, Pan Nation, a steel drum octet performing original compositions composed by the group’s members and recently releasing their debut EP recording, “Altered Perception.”

     Tom’s composing talents have earned him grants from the prestigious Meet the Composer Foundation on five occasions, fostering the creation, performance and education of audiences through his compositions featuring steel drums and percussion.  This dedication to musical education has won Tom many invitations as an artist in residence at numerous universities and colleges throughout the U.S.  He currently is the director of Steel Drum Ensembles at the University of Denver, Lamont School of Music as well as the founder and director of the Pan Ramajay Summer Steel Drum Festival, in Denver, CO, occurring annually in July.  He has also served on the faculty of the JAZZ School in Berkeley, CA, the Mannette Steel Drum Workshop in Morgantown, WV,  the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, the Lamont Summer Academy, and the University of Delaware Summer Steel Drum Workshop.

   Tom is the founder and president of one of the foremost steel drum music publishing companies, Pan Ramajay Productions (www.ramajay.com), which features Tom’s own compositions and recordings as well as those of other prominent steel drum composers worldwide. 


Joy Lapps-Lewis

Joy Lapps is an artist, educator, creative consultant and creative womanist. She holds a Masters in Music Composition at York University, and her proficiency with the tenor pan is known internationally.

Joy Lapps is an artist, educator, creative consultant and creative womanist.  She holds a Masters in Music Composition at York University, and her proficiency with the tenor pan is known internationally.

She leads The Joy Lapps Project, an ensemble exploring Afro and Latin-Caribbean Jazz. Joy has performed at festivals including Afrofest, Toronto's TD Jazz Festival, Antigua’s Moods of Pan Festival and Miami’s GroundUp Festival.

Lapps-Lewis has educated hundreds through her masterclasses and workshops within educational, corporate and community spaces. 

In 2019 Joy presented her multi-disciplinary project titled From Skin 2 Steel and Beyond at the Toronto Evergreen Brick Works. 

Joy is currently putting the finishing touches on her forthcoming release   Girl In The Yard and is in the development phase of multi-disciplinary performance celebrating the contributions of women to the steelpan community.

For more info visit www.joylapps.com follow @joylappsmusic on Instagram and Facebook.


Kenneth Joseph

Kenneth Joseph a Trinidadian native, is the steelband director of St Luke’s Steelband in New Haven Connecticut; there he teaches, directs, and performs with four of their ensembles. Additionally, Joseph currently holds the position of Dean of Student Culture at Booker T Washington Academy in New Haven.

Kenneth Joseph a Trinidadian native, is the steelband director of St Luke’s Steelband in New Haven Connecticut; there he teaches, directs, and performs with four of their ensembles. Additionally, Joseph currently holds the position of Dean of Student Culture at Booker T Washington Academy in New Haven.

His early formal musical training began at Parry’s Pan School, Tacarigua Trinidad. He studied with music school founder Selwyn “Parry” Paul and notable musician Eddie Quarless. Joseph continued his musical studies and graduated from the University of the West Indies Trinidad and Tobago, and Northern Illinois University USA, with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music respectively. Joseph also had the pleasure to study and work with other notable musicians; Satanand Sharma, Dr. Pat Bishop, Liam Teague, Dr. Cliff Alexis, Harold Headley and Dr. Pelham Goddard. Joseph’s formal training also includes conducting and has studied with Dr. Ronnie Wooten, Dr. John Ginocchio, Dr. Amy Roisum-Foley, Dr. Jack Stamp, Jessel Murray and Craig Kirchhoff.

Joseph has over thirty years of steelpan experience, including performing, teaching, adjudicating, arranging, and composing music; he has had the pleasure to perform as a soloist, with chamber groups and large ensembles in the US and on an international level.

As an arranger, Joseph’s music can be heard from the various ensembles he directs. Joseph has served as a guest clinician at the summer camp of the Rhythm Project in Norfolk, Virginia. Additionally, he has twice previously served as a clinician and adjudicator for the annual PANorama Competition held in Virginia Beach. Joseph has also served as a judge for the New York Panorama Competition, from 2014 - present.