Starlift Steel Orchestra Turns 50

The Starlift Steel Orchestra will mark a milestone when it celebrates its 50th year of existence.

Band Leader, Roddy Dowers said the organization has already begun preparations for activities to observe the anniversary, and the programme of activities should be finalized by January 2017.


The year 1967 holds much significance for the life and residents of the communities of Old Montrose estate, renowned in the late 19th and early 20th centuries for its cotton cultivation.

The year marked the founding of the Starlift Steel Orchestra which was the first and only lasting effort aimed at genuinely fostering a community organization that grouped both Montrose communities.
Included among those who gave genesis to Starlift are the likes of Simeon “Spitter” Antrobus, Teddy “Mice” Johnson, Hugh “Paddy” Williams, Gideon “Socks” Da Silva and Walton “Tanny” Peters, the Orchestra’s first tuner and arranger.
Persons like Errol “Sardo” Sutherland and Bertram “Tom” Maule would find inspiration from the enthusiasm of those pioneers and play invaluable roles in molding the Orchestra.
From its inception, there was a determination not to fail – to live through generations – to roll over but not to die. The fact that Starlift remains strong today as it has ever been through its forty-plus years of existence, is testimony to this determination and fulfillment of its motto: “Men will come, men may go but Starlift still remains.”
Having not relocated it operational base from Montrose, it has served and continues to serve as a bonding agent for the communities from which it was birthed.
Starlift, formed over 40 years ago, stands as the vanguard for pan music in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Their hold on the panorama title comes as a matter of course as long as they turn up. When Sea Operations Starlift Steel Orchestra hits the stage for a panorama final, all other bands have to battle for second.

Among the activities planned are a series of grand Pan Concerts and Church Services.

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