2016 Calendar Candidate


Marla Nanton - Steel Pan Arranger/Conductor/Director

Marla Nanton is a resident of Ratho-Mill whose philosophy is based on 5 “L”s: Live. Love. Laugh. Learn. Lift.

She is a past student of the Kingstown Preparatory School, St. Vincent Girls’ High School, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College and State University of New York at Plattsburgh. Today, she is employed as an Education Officer responsible for Media and Communication in the Ministry of Education, but admits that Music is her first love.

Marla has been applauded for the good work that she continues to do, particularly in the area of Music. She has carried on a love affair with Music for over 2 decades and has used positive energies in this area to impact St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

In 2000, Rhythmix Steel Orchestra was formed and the then 19-year old Marla was one of the co-founders. She served as president (first) in the early life of the band. In just a few years, Rhythmix emerged a youth band of national prominence, winning the National Panorama title in 2007. As cofounder and first president of Rhythmix, Marla made a significant contribution to the sustenance of the steel band art form in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, particularly at a time when the art form seemed to be dwindling.

In April 2012, Marla propelled the youths of South East Steel Orchestra to produce the inaugural Hearts of Steel show, which sought to elevate the steel pan as a musical instrument, fit for the concert hall. The show featured well-rehearsed youths playing several different genres of music and received excellent reviews. Under her direction, the group has since staged 2 more successful editions of the Hearts of Steel show (2013 and 2015).

Apart from holding a BSc (hons) in Business & Professional Communication, Marla also holds a BA (hons) in Music from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Plattsburgh. In 2006, she received the Dean’s award for outstanding achievement in Music at the Annual Arts and Science Academic Awards, SUNY Plattsburgh. She now uses her professional training in Music as a teacher, arranger and director.

Marla has given private Music lessons to many children in St. Vincent and on the island of Mustique. She has also taught Music part-time at St. Vincent Girls’ High School. Currently, Marla serves as the Music Director of WINFRESH South East Steel Orchestra, a task that involves composing/arranging music for the group, as well as designing and planning activities. As Music Director of the youthful orchestra, she continues to work extensively with young people. Her contribution has helped to earn the orchestra national recognition with new accolades, within the last few years.

Recently, Marla has been thrown into the spot light for treading on grounds that no other female has before in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. She has emerged the first female Arranger/Conductor/Director of a steel orchestra in SVG and now stands in line with the few females who arrange music/direct steel bands in the Caribbean and the world at large. For her accomplishments in the steel pan arena, the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines awarded Marla, a National Youth Award in 2012. She was again recognized in 2015, with an award for outstanding contribution to the steel pan art form, issued by the Vincentian Association of Artists, Writers and Producers. In 1997, she also received the Lois Williams Award for Music from St. Vincent Girls’ High School.

Marla has co-hosted the NBC radio programme “Pan in Harmony”. The programme focuses on pan culture (history of the instrument, the craft of playing, arranging music for the orchestra, etc.). She has also sat on many platforms as a public advocate for Culture and the Creative Arts. She continues to serve in different professional capacities, including adjudicator of cultural events, both home and abroad. Marla intends to emerge as a quality leader in the domains of Education and Music, helping to the change those landscapes in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Favorite quote:

“Music is not what I do. It is who I am.”

Words of Encouragement:

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. Have a life plan, work hard at it and dare to be different. Don’t be afraid to try your hand at new things, for there is a lesson in every new experience. Some people are afraid of failure, but failure is an important element in success. The experiences you gain in failure are some of the best lessons you can apply in life. I truly believe that life is about finding your niche and then striving to be the best that you can be.

Marla attributes her success to her parents Oswald and Anita Nanton, Patrick “Pat” Prescod, Johnny Pompey, Patrick “Grey” Baptiste, Hugh Huggins, Donna Clarke, Jeanne Horne, Vin Stewart, Albert Harry, among others.