KEN “Professor” Philmore is gone, but his contribution to culture will never be forgotten.
Especially not by the community of Pleasantville, which gave birth to this pan genius who died on September 30, a week after an accident on Republic Day.
On Saturday, the community will honour his memory with a steelband festival, Pan In De Ville. The Pleasantville Secondary School also has plans to honour him on its Wall of Fame.
Philmore was a recognised teacher at the school, previously Pleasantville Senior Comprehensive. Among his students are renowned pan players Liam Teague and Darren Sheppard.
Local government councillor Robert Parris said this year’s pan festival will be dedicated to Philmore, who was instrumental in conceptualising it ten years ago.
“Ken, in collaboration with myself and the Pleasantville Empowerment Committee, gave birth to the idea of a festival to celebrate the national instrument, but also to commemorate City Day.
The first festival was held in 2016 at the Shirlyn Nickles Basketball Court, Pleasantville. Ken was instrumental in that.
“This year we are going to dedicate the festival titled, Tribute to Sangrabranga Dadda, to the memory of Ken.
We have the blessings of his wife Sophia and we are working with his brother, Brian, who is part of the planning committee. Brian has pledged to be a part of the festival going forward.”
The festival will again be held at the basketball court and will feature CAL Skiffle, FCB Supernovas, NGC Joylanders, NLCB Fonclaire, Pan Elders and the Old Tech Steel Orchestra, which is now based in Pleasantville.
Parris said while the festival has grown over the years, this year promises to be outstanding, as people who were associated with and loved Philmore have already indicated their interest in being part of this celebration of his life.
“This will be a gift to Ken, an opportunity for the people to express their feelings for this man who helped to put our city and our country on the world stage,” Parris said.
Philmore, who was instrumental in the creation of the G-Pan, was a musical giant not only in TT but around the globe. He received many international awards and accolades and distinguished himself by performing and recording with international artistes such as Tito Puente, Ella Fitzgerald, Tina Turner, Ralph Mc Donald and the Duke Ellington Orchestra, which he was invited to join.
At his funeral on October 5, his sister Antoinette Philmore said her brother never signed the five-year contract with the orchestra because he would not have been free to return to Trinidad for the Panorama season, a season he relished and lived for.