High honours for Earl La Pierre

Local musician Earl La Pierre has garnered the Trinidad and Tobago Consul General’s Diaspora Award for excellence.

The musician was awarded the accolade on 15 September, for his outstanding contribution to the promotion of steel pan music in Ontario, Canada.

The award is intended to recognize and celebrate persons from The Trinidad and Tobago community who have excelled in one or more fields of endeavour, thus making major contributions to their adopted home, Canada. Achievements for this award must be extraordinary, must represent a body of work which extends over an extended period of time – a lifetime of work, not a single act.

Formerly of St Clair, Port-of-Spain Trinidad, Earl La Pierre has made Cayman his home since 1986 when he was invited here to perform for Pirates Week. An opportunity to teach steel pan arose and he ended up staying for the next 22 years and has loved every moment of it. Earl opened a school called Cayman School for Pan and formed a steel band known as Panoramers. He also teaches steel pan at a slew of Cayman’s schools..

Besides teaching in Cayman, Earl has taught music at the University of Toronto, North York Board of Education and the Toronto Board of Education. He has distinguished himself as Canada’s top arranger by being judged and winning the Best Playing Steel Band at Toronto’s annual Caribana celebrations for the unprecedented 30th time.

When not arranging music in Toronto or Trinidad, Earl still teaches in Cayman and performs for functions at some of the major hotels. He also travels on tours with my band performing at a long list of venues throughout the USA and the Caribbean.

At a recent performance in Los Angeles I stood on stage as the spot lights were directed towards Earl. That’s all he needed for the extra energy to kick in – He stole the show, jaws dropped and the crowd of some one thousand fell silent as Earl went into an amazing rendition of a Tchaikovsky classic and then went into a complete transpose with a Belafonte calypso.

Yes, besides his unquestionable skills as a pan player and his many awards …. He is a ‘musical’ ambassador for our islands. Congratulations Earl.