Story and photos courtesy Overtime Media
Discipline. Dedication. Magnificence. These watchwords have guided and inspired members of the Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra (TASSO) for decades. For 30 years, TASSO has started each year and the Carnival season with a celebratory Thanksgiving Mass with friends and family at the Holy Rosary Church, Henry Street, Port of Spain.
This year, it was held on January 7 and featured the Stageside unit of TASSO, which sent the scintillating strums of our national instrument echoing through the hallowed halls of the church.
Chief celebrant and newly appointed parish priest, Fr Matthew d’Hereaux made a point of saying that “reflection is the primary power of music and language” and added that “music tames the savage beast and words can set your mood on any given day”.
He encouraged the congregation to reflect upon the consequences of hearing ‘I hate you’ as opposed to ‘I love you’, in the morning. Thus began TASSO’s 2024 campaign of striving for magnificence and excellence through discipline and dedication.
Awesome steelpan renditions of appropriate musical selections such as Rudder’s ‘High Mass’, John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’, and Scrunter’s classic ‘Woman on the Bass’ reverberated across Park Street, even as birthday celebrant Daniel Gulston also added Judy Jacobs’ ‘Days of Elijah’ and Double Seconds player, Marlon August performed Bette Midler’s ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ much to the delight of the congregation.
This year, TASSO celebrates 89 years of existence and as the oldest champion of steel orchestras in the universe. Members present and past know the power of words and recite the watchwords at the end of every practice in order to invoke the spirit that shepherds the band’s continued excellence and success.