Late ex-BP Renegades president remembered as humble, hardworking

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Mourners in grief at the funeral for ex-BP Renegades president Michael Marcano at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Monday. Photo by Sureash Cholai

Using late BP Renegades president Michael Marcano as an example, and speaking as a band manager, Pan Trinbago president Beverley Ramsey-Moore said on Monday the narrative of pan people begging the government must change.

Marcano died on May 26 of cancer. He was 71 and a former vice president of Pan Trinbago. Marcano was known for his work in making BP Renegades a self-sufficient music and business organisation.

His funeral was held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Port of Spain.

BP Renegades’ current president Colin Greaves announced this year’s annual Big Five pan concert will pay tribute to Marcano.

Ramsey-Moore was one of four people delivering tributes at his funeral.

Greaves, North West Regional Health Authority’s CEO Davlin Thomas, and president of Textel Credit Union Maria Berahazer were the others.

Pan Trinbago president Beverley Ramsey-Moore views the body of ex-BP Renegades president Michael Marcano at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Port of Spain on Monday. Photo by Sureash Cholai

They said not only was Marcano known for his work with the band, but for also being involved in theatre, calypso, and a founding member of Textel Credit Union.

He was also known for having great humility while doing and achieving these things.

Marcano’s children Kemba Marcano and Gyasi Philbert delivered the eulogy.

He leaves to mourn his common law wife Stephanie Davy; children Kwesi, Kemba, Anika Marcano and Jabari and Gyasi Philbert, as well as other family, friends and the pan fraternity.

Ramsey-Moore said many pan leaders gave of their time and talent and were often seen as empowerment coaches, trainers and leaders.

Pan leaders also assisted with governance and their societal contribution was priceless, she said.

Yet, it was often said pan people were always begging the Government.

“‘Them pan people always want money from Government…’ Today we must change the narrative on that.”

Ramsey-Moore said the fraternity contributed to TT’s development of its human capital, using pan yards and the instrument as tools to develop youth, women, senior citizens and the wider citizenry.

She asked the mourners to imagine how many lives Marcano touched in his 24 years of service.

BP Renegades Steel Orchestra president Colin Greaves pays tribute to one of his predecessors, Michael Marcano, at his funeral on Monday at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Port of Spain. Photo by Sureash Cholai

Using an analogy from American singer/songwriter Chris Rice’s Carry Your Candle, Ramsey-Moore said Marcano carried his candle and did so well.

She said many pan leaders should pat themselves on the back for their priceless service to TT.

Ramsey-Moore said Marcano was seen as a man of great wisdom – something also echoed by other speakers like Greaves.

“He was that voice on the floor, and particularly at meetings, which brought reasoning. He was a person of influence who acted sensibly.”

Mourners filled the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Port of Spain on Monday for the funeral of ex-BP Renegades Steel Orchestra president Michael Marcano. Photo by Sureash Cholai

She said the pan community was very passionate and sometimes, at its meetings, went over the edge but Marcano often stood up to bring reason. She said he was powerful and strong although he was often in the background.

Despite being in the background, he developed BP Renegades into a music and business institution, she added.

Greaves and others defined him as a visionary.

When he joined the band in 1984, Greaves said, he recognised many of its members were unemployed or underemployed, and worked to ensure its players were able to live by their skill.

Marcano led the band for 24 years and became its first president.

“But if you met him, you wouldn’t know all of those things because he was a fantastic example of when great power meets great humility,” Greaves said.

BP Renegades Steel Orchestra players pay tribute to their late ex-president Michael Marcano at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Port of Spain on Monday. Photo by Sureash Cholai

In 1991, Marcano launched project 2001 – a developmental project for the band, which saw the development of a bar, gift shop, food court and rental spaces. This made the band self-sufficient.

He said through Marcano’s vision the arrangers were paid monthly salaries, captains were paid stipends and players earned money not only as artistes but as employees of BP Renegades working in its other businesses.

Marcano’s other achievements also included getting a foreign booking agent – Run Productions – for the band. The booking agent still books BP Renegades annually for tours and festivals.

Marcano was cremated in a private ceremony at Belgroves Crematorium, Trincity.