Pan Player, Arranger, Pan Tuner
Back to Ref: Theo Stephens. Pan Player, Arranger, Pan Tuner

   Theo Stephens began playing the steelpan at around the age of twelve years with the band Free French.

   In these early years Emile 'Zola' Williams was the Captain of the band. Theo [here] gained experience and knowledge; and [over the] years ...they both tuned the pans of Free French as well as arranged for the band.

   Free French took part in the 1952 inaugural Musical Festival for steelbands and made it to the finals.

   In the interim however, Theo went to England with the Trinidad All Steel Percussion Orchestra (TASPO) in 1951.

   Theo left Free French and opened his own band on Rushworth Street, San Fernando, under the name Metronomes.
   This band did not last long; for after a tour to Barbados, in which only nine members made the trip, this band folded up.

   Theo with the members who remained [from Metronomes], formed Southern All Stars. This band took part with great success at the 1954 Music Festival. The band won with 185 points beating Trinidad All Stars into second place [180] with Casablanca third [168]. Theo himself placed third [165] in the Ping Pong competition behind Dudley Smith [173] and Everest Bacquain [167].

   Theo then left Trinidad and went to England where he was involved with many steelbands.

   However, he enlisted into the Royal Air Force (RAF) and flew ...helicopters. In addition, he studied music - mainly military and dance.

   [Through] his training in England he was posted to Holland where he spent 2 1/2 years with NATO between 1957-1960.

   When his tour of duty finished, he returned to England and worked with the British Government as a teacher with the Inner London Educational Association; where he taught pan in its musical form.

   He remained for seven years and lectured [at] colleges; among them being the [London] Borough Polytechnic [and others] in Peterborough and Huddersfield.

   In the early 1970s he accepted a government job proposal in the United States to teach pan in San Antonio, Texas.

   This he did, for quite a number of years, at three levels - beginners, juniors and seniors.

   He is at present [1996] attempting to regroup Southern All Stars.

   Theo Stephens, a pannist of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

© 1997 Gideon Maxime: Pg 223; PAN THROUGH THE YEARS (1952 - 1996)
© 1998: - 19980318 - 1m20071228 - 2m20140615
Historic Update: 30 December 1998; Last Update: 19 July 2014 03:30:00 TT
Processed by: Jeremy G de Barry
Back to Ref: Theo Stephens. Pan Player, Arranger, Pan Tuner

Compiled & Processed by Islands Research for:
The Steelbands (Pan) of Trinidad & Tobago

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