National Junior Panorama champion in 2019, Guaico Presbyterian has added another title to their steel orchestra as Rocco Cy Dmitri Nicholas, a Standard Four pupil, excelled at the recent San Fest competition and was announced champion in the pan solo category.
Nine-year-old Nicholas, also a budding violinist, said he loves music and playing pan. He said he has a special touch for music and hopes to be one of the top panmen in the land. He added that music keeps him relaxed, focused and affords him a healthy mind which contrbutes to his discipline.
“Music helps me to excel in my academic studies,” said Nicholas.
“I utilise most of my energy in music and, as the saying goes, ‘if one does not like music, better they dead’. But, I love music, so I will stay alive.”
Born in Botswana, but raised in Sangre Grande, Nicholas became a household name from the age of two, when he won the title Mr Adorable contest at his pre-school’s Adorable Care and Education annual Pageant Show.
At age eight, Nicholas was adjudged Valedictorian at Republic Bank’s Pan Minors Music Literacy Programme. Now, at age nine, he seems unstoppable in his musical accomplishments as he was a tenor player in the 2019 National Panorama Junior competition, contributing with his fellow schoolmates to bring the national pan title home for his school and make Sangre Grande and environs proud.
Nicholas’ prior steelpan playing experience has enabled him to appear in this year’s National Junior Finals with both his school and junior National Panorama fourth-placed steelband Supernovas Youth Steel Orchestra. Currently, he performs as a member of the Exocubs Youth Steel Orchestra and is also preparing to make his senior debut with Sangre Grande Cordettes in the Medium Band category of the 2020 National Panorama competition, scheduled for January 26, 2020.
The success of this gifted prodigy is due to his musical training that allows him to complete Level 2 of the Pan Music Literacy Programme, Grade 2 in Music Theory at the Associate Board of the Royal School of Music (ABRSM) and Grade 3 in the Steelpan Practical at the Department of Creative and Festival Arts (DCFA), UWI. In addition, he attends the Mannette Academy of Music and was recently enrolled at the T&T Youth Philharmonic (TTYP) Orchestra at the Beginner’s Level.
Nicholas told Guardian Media that he was always interested in steelpan music as “the sweet steel rhythms” of the national instrument have always fascinated him. His mother, who was a teacher, drills him at honing pan-playing skills, doing so until he reaches perfection. “I loved her for this,” said a beaming Nicholas.
He revealed that his first motivators and those who inspired him were his mother and father and by extension his sister Sydney, who are all involved in music. His sister, who was the first captain of Guaico Presbyterian Steel Orchestra, which placed fourth in 2018 Junior National Panorama competition, encouraged him to join and play the pan.
Nicholas’ mentor, Barry Mannette recognised his potential “early o’clock.” Another of his heroes, whom he declared admiration for, is Triston Marcano.
Nicholas shares YouTube and Facebook profile/platforms with his sister, called “SydRocs.”
As expected, Nicholas is quite chummy with his schoolmates and he regularly advises them that “music is the food of life” and that is what is needed for young people to stay focused and disciplined, “making them better boys and girls in our communities and by extension Trinidad and Tobago.”
Guaico Presbyterian School principal Indira Rambaran-Mohammed, described Nicholas as a role model to his classmates and other children. She said that he is well disciplined and always involved in some activity that will keep him occupied. She added that Nicholas is not only excelling in music, but is a brilliant student and is confident that he will be a very successful person in life.
Nicholas has brought fame and glory to Guaico Presbyterian School.