Arranger: Earl La Piere Sr
Band Manager: Ear La Pierre Jr
Tuner: Roland Harragin
The Afropan Steelband “the People’s Band” is Toronto’s oldest and most successful steelband. The pioneers of Afropan, an intimate group of pannists from Trinidad, got together in Toronto as early as 1970. It was not, however, until 1973 as “Harriet Tubman Survivors” that the Afropan Steelband was formally founded. Since 1973 Afropan, under the leadership of Earl La Pierre Sr., has won the Best Playing Steelband Competition at the Caribana Festival a total of 26 times, and has placed in the top three in all other years. In 1987 Afropan had the unique distinction of winning the “Best Overall Band” participating in the Caribana Parade that year.
The band’s Manager, Earl La Pierre Jr., a.k.a. the “Extraordinary Steel Pannist’ could be compared to an orchestra conductor, leading the members to produce a symphony of service “For the People”. Afropan has a core group of approximately 25 players. They play during the year at functions such as weddings, concerts with other steelbands, community-sponsored events, cultural shows, Black History Month celebrations and the Mississauga Santa Claus Parade. Afropan has traveled to locations such as Windsor, Timmins, Ottawa, Bermuda, and most recently, Liberville, Gabon in Central Africa, where the band helped celebrate the nations 50th anniversary of their independence.
For the annual Caribana Festival in Toronto, as many as 80 to 100 pan players participate in the parade. Many alumni return to assist and participate in the Caribana parade. Another feature of the band is that it is intergenerational with grandparents, parents and their children, brothers, sisters and cousins all participating actively. AN AFROPAN EVENT IS A FAMILY AFFAIR.