Guides and Info
Form & Application
Ontario Steelpan Association is the culmination of an initiative by avid steelpan enthusiasts to promote and preserve their musical art form in Canada through the formation of an umbrella organization. In 2001 representatives of Toronto's steelpan community participated in a previously arranged meeting with Mr. Patrick Arnold, President of Pan Trinbago (Trinidad & Tobago) at the offices of the Caribbean Cultural Committee (CCC), Toronto. It was attended by Patrick Arnold, Cecil Clarke (President, Pan Trinbago Canada), Cristabelle Crichlow & Tommy Crichlow (Pan Masters), Miley Duke (New Dimension), Selwyn Henry & Andrew Jackson (Panatics), Elton John (Missisauga Academy of Steelband Music), Ian Jones (Facilitator), Wendy Jones (Pan Fantasy), Heather McIvor (Jesse Ketchum Pan Vibrations), Danny Mosca (Silhouettes), Edward Peters (CCC Board member), Ivor Picou, Tom Sosa (Afropan), Earle Wong (pan tuner for Panyard Precision Steel Band Instruments), and Jamea Zuberi (Melange Steelpan Ensemble). This group met monthly with the aim of creating one representative steelpan association in Toronto.
In September, 2002, the Ontario Steelpan Association (OSA) had its inaugural meeting and the association was incorporated in October with a mandate "to promote excellence in all facets of steelpan in Canada, by providing open, accountable leadership in all matters related to the recognition, growth and development of the steelpan and the steelpan community; and to do so with absolute respect and trust". The association promotes interest in the growth, recognition, research & development, study and practice of the steelpan art form by holding lectures, concerts, classes, seminars and workshops in steelpan and steelpan-related activities. OSA arranges and sanctions competitions and performances, and establishes and grants prizes, awards and distinctions to steelpan player, arrangers and composers.
The head office of Ontario Steelpan Association (OSA) is 2005 Sheppard Avenue East, Suite 303 Toronto and its first directors were Winston Frederick, Selwyn Henry, Ian Jones, Jose Machado and Earle Wong. OSA has since its inception, worked in partnership with Trinidad & Tobago's Consul-General (Toronto) and a variety of local educational and social community organizations and individuals to develop this unique musical invention and its devoted community, one that has grown and spread in the last decade throughout to the GTA and beyond.
The Official Launch of Ontario Steelpan Association was held on Thursday, June 26 2003 and attended by guest of honour, Dr. Ellie Mannette - one of steelpan's emminent pioneers and innovators. The story of the steelpan is a social history of Trinidad and Tobago, the triumph of mainly untrained musical talent, creativity and grassroots dedication over the oppression of the privileged class. He affirmed that after a long, hard struggle, pan is now much bigger than Trinidad and Tobago.
In Canada, OSA has played a critical role in the proliferation of steel pan and is one of the core partners in the annual Toronto Caribbean Carnival, the premiere showcasing of this musical instrument in North America.
Canadian pan players have achieved great recognition and artistic achievements, such as Ian Jones, Earl LaPierre, Jr., Hameed "Pan Piper" Shaqq, Winston "Pappy" Frederick, "Panman Pat" McNeilly, Tommy Crichlow, Talib Robinson, to name a few.
In May 2009, OSA, the Organization of Calypso Performers Association (OCPA) and Toronto Mas' Bands Association (TMBA) began meetings aimed at executing our collective responsibility for the artistic growth and development of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival – a mission that will lead us to collaboratively engage in vigorous community outreach to ensure the preservation and perpetuation of our cultural art forms.
OSA is the producer of the Pan Alive extravaganza at Lamport Stadium on the Friday night of Toronto Caribbean Carnival climactic final week. Over a dozen large steelbands each perform two extended arrangements of pieces chosen for the occasion and vie for prizes in an exciting, open-air evening concert programme that in 2009 featured the winners of Trinidad & Tobago's famous Panorama Competition, the Silver Stars Steel Orchestra.
In April 2004, OSA partnered with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and the Tourism & Industry Development Company of Trinidad & Tobago to produce Pan Fest, a non-competitive steelpan event in which 23 elementary and high schools participated at Bickford Centre. The TDSB had produced this event successfully on its own since 1989 but decided to demonstrate its commitment to reach out to the younger generation, especially those who are currently in the education system.
Ontario Steelpan Association (OSA) is a leading advocate for community development and artistic excellence and invites the assistance of all parties interested in furthering its goals of creating professional and educational opportunities for the steelpan community in Canada.
Organization of Calypso Performing Artistes (OCPA)
The Organization of Calypso Performing Artistes (OCPA) was founded in 1981 by a group of individuals interested in developing the Calypso art form in Canada. Calypso is a rich oral musical tradition that plays an integral role in defining the artistic aesthetic of Caribbean people. The group was incorporated in 1992 with the mandate:
(A) To promote the Calypso art form
(B) To produce and present lectures, concerts, classes and seminars in Calypso Music and related activities
(C) To promote fellowship among its members and to foster collaboration and the exchange of ideas and information between members of the Calypso community
(D) To arrange competitions and exhibitions, establish the granting of prizes,
awards and distinctions, and other complementary events and activities
OCPA has produced an annual programme of concerts, workshops, competitions and special events since its inception. OCPA’s major events for the year are the five-week Calypso Tents (June – July), the Calypso Monarch Competition and the Calypso STARS concert in partnership with Harbourfront Centre. Other events are the Junior Calypso & Soca Showcase, Calypso Lime (fundraiser), the Calypso Awards, and the Christmas Parang Party.
The Calypso Tents shows present a programme of newly-composed and arranged Canadian calypso and soca music in June. The series is produced in collaboration with Kaiso Forum and TLK – two independent, calypso music promoters. The “tents” gives Canadian composers, singers, musicians and arrangers a vital platform to promote their new work and to gain public recognition. The music series is OCPA’s most important developmental activity, providing employment and training in the performing arts to a diverse community calypso singers, musicians, composers and arrangers in the GTA and beyond.
The Calypso Monarch Competition takes place in July after the music series and culminates with “Kaiso 365” presentation, where nine finalists each perform two original songs. The competition serves to establish standards for the art form, to promote excellence and to maintain public interest and support of this unique musical tradition in Canada.
The Calypso STARS is a 2½ hour concert on the 2500-seat Westjet Stage, Harbourfront Centre and features the most popular and interesting new Canadian calypso songs from the season, along with top Canadian soca artists and special guests. OCPA has a reciprocal agreement with Association of British Calypsonians (ABC) to feature their reigning calypso monarch at this event and to host the reigning Canadian monarch at Notting Hill Carnival, U.K.
OCPA’s general membership consists of creative and performing artists, as well as individuals who are interested in the history and development of the art form. The organization is supported by a community of avid volunteers and supporters who help stage events, serve on committees, and contribute to the health of the organization. OCPA’s work is supervised by a 8-member volunteer board of directors chosen from membership open to the public. The board of directors is made up of artists, arts administrators, individuals from corporate management and social service sector management, educators, and retired persons - all who share a passion for calypso and a belief in its power to entertain and to educate with its catchy rhythms and stories full of wit, humor, double entendre and thought-provoking social and political commentary.
OCPA is one of the three main artistic stakeholders of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival - the largest festival of its kind in North America. The Calypso Tents and Calypso Monarch Competition add significant original music content to the festival’s programme of mas’(querade), steelpan and calypso.
For more information visit www.ocpacalypsoca.com
Carnival in the Fort