Commancheros Turns 50, 1967 - 2017
Celebrating 50 years of Community Development through Pan-Culture
The Commancheros Steel Orchestra was formed in St. Paul’s in 1967 by Mr. Denis Phillip in an area simply referred to as ‘The Yard’ where many of the youths gathered to play sports, cook a food and have fun in general. Led by Leslie ‘Doctor Fats’ Robinson, Oliver ‘Dolly House’ Charles, Harold ‘Old Post’ Charles and Adrian ‘Shakey’ Hayes the boys collected oil tins from the Esso gas station at Parade, burnt and tuned them and played music to the enjoyment of the neighbourhood. (The group was called the Tintots Combo)
Being encouraged by the enthusiasm of the boys, Mr. Denis Phillip was inspired and acquired some of the real traditional steel pans for the boys to play and hence the birth of Commancheros.
Over the past 50 years, the Commancheros Steelband has gone through many stages of development in terms of the numbers, ages and sex of players. The orchestra has definitely grown in membership, stature, ‘panmanship’ - skills and techniques, repertoire, quality and quantity of instruments. With all those changes over the past Fifty (50) years, Commancheros continues to be one of the leading steel orchestras in Grenada.
“One of the main contributing factors for the success and development of this band is that it was started as, and still is a very strong community oriented group. It also has a very strong supportive arm in that of Commancheros New York Support Organisation (CNYSO).
The orchestra is run by a management committee, which is charged with the responsibility of overseeing its affairs.
Commancheros Steel Orchestra has won all major steelband titles including Music Festivals in 1975, 1976 and by default in 1977. In 1995 the Junior Orchestra won the National ‘Festival of the Arts’ pan competition playing Nocturne in E Flat. The band has also won Bomb Tune Competitions and Junior and Senior Panorama held in Grenada. Commancheros has been and still is the champion ‘band on the road’ in Grenada carnival.
Sponsorship has been a key element of the success story of the band. An important force in the life of Commancheros is the communications giant FLOW formerly GRENTEL / Cable & Wireless / LIME, who has been sponsoring the band for the last 26 years. The company sees this as part of its social mandate, in giving back to the community.”
The Musical group Commancheros Steel Orchestra has taken Steel band music to four continents across the globe Africa, Europe, North and South America.
The orchestra admirably represented Grenada overseas through the five (5) decades of its life and is very much involved in the ‘social and cultural landscape’ of our nation.
We successfully functioned and survived 50 years as a steelband and we are prepared to face the next 50 years with determination and the will to be a strong force to be reckoned with way into the future.