DIXIELAND

1950s
1961

Dixieland was formed in 1950 when Curtis Pierre recruited some of his fellow St. Mary's College students of White, Portuguese, Chinese, and Black middle-class backgrounds in the formation of a band called the "Melody Makers." Up to this point in time, playing in a steelband was not considered socially acceptable. Pierre became the band's leader in 1951 and changed its name to Dixieland. The band paraded on the road for the first time during Carnival the same year. During the rest of the 1950s, Dixieland under Pierre's leadership was very instrumental in gaining acceptance for steelband music by the middle and upper classes of Trinidad society. In 1960, Dixieland won the Steelband Music Festival with "Agnus Dei," beating back Invaders (2nd, "In A Monastery Garden"), and Sundowners (3rd, "Skater's Waltz"). Capitalizing on its success, Dixieland recorded its first album and left Trinidad on May 20, 1961, for a tour of Europe, Africa, and the USA. The band included Curtis Pierre (captain), Miguel Barradas, Russel Valdez, Fred Totsaut, Trevor Cumberbatch, George Ng Wai, Hady Lee, Lennox Langton, Laurice "Pops" Lashley, Michael "Natsi" Constant and Angela Christopher. Dixieland finished among the top three steelbands in the following significant competition:
YEAR EVENT RESULT SELECTION ARRANGER
1960 Steelband Music Festival 1st Agnus Dei Curtis Pierre
1968 Panorama 3rd Miss Tourist (Lord Kitchener) Curtis Pierre
Compiled by Ronald C. Emrit