The Girl Pat Steel Orchestra was most likely the first all female steel orchestra , since the steelband was formed between the years 1951 – 1952 at the home of Hazel Henley at No 79 Picton Street, Newtown, Trinidad. She was an accomplished musician who played the piano and formed the band with some of her friends, with the assistance of Ellie Mannette and and other panmen of that era.
The band was very accomplished and well respected; sufficiently so to be invited to successfully tour Guyana and Jamaica where they were much appreciated.
The members of the steelband were all Hazel’s friends and were Irma Waldron, Celia Didier, Eleanor ‘Ellie’ Maria Robertson, Joyce Forde, Norma Braithwaite and Eugene Gowen, and their panyard was at Hazel’s home, 79 Picton Street, Newtown.
The following selections are in recognition and honor of all the former members of this pioneering steelband.
The Castilianne is a Trinidadian interpretation of the Venezuelan waltz that was popular in Trinidad, particularly in the nineteen fifties and sixties
In 1956, Emory Cook produced an album of Castilianne music called “The Castilianne Maracas Waltz”.
Included were two selections by the Girl Pat Steel Orchestra – “Castilianne” and “Juliana”.
From the 1957 Cook Album, The Champion Steelbands of Trinidad. here is another selection by arguably the first all girl steel band, “The Girl Pat Steel Orchestra”
As of this writing in March 2020, I’ve been notified that band member Norma Braithwaite is still with us at 103.
Hazel Henley was born on December 14, 1917 and passed away on August 31, 2007
Eleanor Marion Robertson, another former member of the band passed away in New York on June 5th, 2012.
May all the deceased members of this pioneering band Rest In Peace
4 thoughts on “The original all female steelband – Girl Pat Steel Orchestra”
Sylia Goin turned 100 yesterday
Dear Mr. Joseph,
Sir, you are a wonderful person to go through all that effort to put us face to face with our history.
I felt very emotional to hear the old time steel pan in its infancy. Nostalgic because I grew up
in the days of the Red Army bad johns coming down Park Street around 1946 on a Carnival day.
Maybe if you give me your email I could invite you to my home to see the work I have been doing
for decades regarding the writing of steel pan music as it relates to the older times and particularly the
Romantic period when the greatest of all music was produced – unfortunately no more.
My email address is ventecltd @yahoo.com
It is people as yourself who have the courage to do what their convictions implore them to do,
the true national pioneers in their own rights who are the heart and soul of our country.
I salute you and may I might be blessed to meet you on certain day.
Thank your very much for the publication Mr. Joseph.
Peter S Moralles
66 Cascade Road
This is very imperative information, and great history! Glenroy R. Joseph thank you for sharing this with us.
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I loved listening to these times from the all girl band.
Particularly as one of the tune is my name. Lovely melody and so soothing today Easter Sunday sounds.
Thank you for a history otherwise untold.