NIU names Teague artist in residence
April 24, 2001
Archives Steelpan Origins
By Terry Joseph
THE Music Faculty of Northern Illinois University has appointed local pannist Liam Teague as Artist in Residence, scoring another first for the national musical instrument.
Teague, who recently completed a Masters Degree in Music, using pan as his favoured instrument, was part of the NIU Steel Orchestra that stunned many locals last October by placing second in the World Steelband Music Festival, which was held here.
The announcement was made on Friday night by Clifford Alexis, one of 12 honourees being celebrated in New York this weekend by the TT Folk Arts Insitute for their contribution to pan.
Alexis said NIU had discovered the value of pan many years ago, which caused the University to be the first to offer a degree in pan.
"This is a university outside of Trinidad and Tobago, you understand, which holds pan in such high regard that it has scored a number of first, which we at home areyet to consider or contemplate," Alexis said.
"I also want to tell you that NIU has made a formal bid to host the next World Steelband Music Festival and they are taking it seriously," Alexis said."Already, they have held meetings with the State capitol to secure funding tomake it a grand affair and when they present their proposal, I think even Trinidadianswill back it.
"These are people who see the value of pan in a way that not even the people in theland where it was invented see it. Look at this: Normally, this is the weekend when NIU Music Faculty holds it annual concert. When the officials at
NIU heardthat the Pan Legends Awards was taking place in New York, they not only postponed the annual concert, but they were among the first to secure tickets to the function," Alexis said.