Citation: Denis “Punch, Moppy, Briggy, Uncle Denis” Phillip
Our awardee this evening has the distinct honor of being the man with the foresight of starting Commancheros. With his foresight and tenacity, he capture the attention and talent of the boys in the village namely: Leslie ‘Fats’ Robinson, Oliver ‘Dolly House’ Charles, Harold ‘Old Post’ Charles, Jude ‘Bassay’ Phillip and others, who were making music on the oil cans they collected from the gas stations and tuned to their likeness in those days. They named themselves ‘Tin tots’. Having had some experience in playing pan, this gentleman bought a pair of pans from Kenneth ‘Tilloty’ Hood of Wayside symphony and thereafter got his good friends Steve “ Spanky” Cyrus and Jonathan “Jukie” Phillip to make some others pans for the boys to play; resulting in the re-birth of a steel band in the community of St. Paul’s in 1967. Realizing the potential of the boys, he saw the need to expand the group and invited Joshua “Timmy” Mason to help with the chords and later Evelyn “Brat” Bullen to do the musical arrangements. The band was then re-christened ‘Commancheros’, a name given to the group by Adrian ‘Shakey’ Hayes one of the members.
Known to most of the players of the sixties and seventies as “Punch” or “Briggy”, and to the players of the eighties to present as Uncle Denis, this stalwart and visionary leader must be justly proud of all he has done for Commancheros and the Steelband movement in Grenada.
From initiative and motivation, to physical, financial and moral support to individual members and the band, he is seen as a father to all. From playing the Double Second Pans, organizing play-outs, carrying pans down the gap to the truck and back, through the thick and thin, rain and sun, on board the cruise ships, managing the band, experiencing the good and not so good time; after 46 years he is still an active member of Commancheros ‘tickling’ the steel.
The members of Commancheros New York Support Organization, on the behalf of the St. Paul’s community, supporters and all Pan Lovers, are very happy and privilege to honor this legendary and iconic gentleman, Mr. Denis “Punch, Moppy, Briggy, Uncle Denis” Phillip the founder of COMMANCHEROS Steel Orchestra, with this…….award.