Chester York

The Godfather of Pan


On December 26th 2007, The Dow's Musical Foundation, in their 16th annual Pan Concert, saluted Mr. Chester York for 50 years of dedication to Steel Pan on St. Maarten. The theme of the concert was "For the Pan Man".

The program notes read:

For The Pan Man
Dedicated to
Mr. Chester York
50th Anniversary

Father of Steel Pan, Monarch of Steel Pan, the Pan Man.
These are all the titles reserved for Mr. Chester York, a true Pan Man indeed.

Mr Chester York started playing steelpan at the age of 13 and is still actively involved with the steel pan. He is an allrounder who truly enjoys what he does with a passion. Chester, as he is called by everyone, has played steel pan in competitions, as an entertainer and performer. He has been involved in steel pan as an instructor, teaching anyone willing to learn the art of playing steel pan; neighbors, friends, family and not forgetting his children, who can all play steel pan. He has created a third generation of steel pan players, something he is so very proud of.
Chester also makes pans and tunes them as well. From production to playing, this pan man is undeniably a true pan man. Now celebratng fifty (50) years of being deeply involved with the pan, St. Maarten's pan man is retired from government service and is now dedicating his time to his love.
We of Dow's Musical Foundation say a big thank you to Mr. Chester York. Had it not been for his son, Mighty Dow, who he so well trained and who is now dedicating his time to instructing the students of this foundation, we might not have been.

All of Mr. Yorks' children, his grandchildren, his family and friends; St. Maarten in general extend gratitude to this unique and inspiring man.
We are proud of all you represent in steel pan. We thank you , we love you, we appreciate you. May God bless you, Chester, our Pan Man, with many more productive steel pan years.


During interviews, in the weeks leading up to the show, Chester named many of the people that played pan in his days and before him.
Some of the names mentioned were John Vlaun, Martin Phillips and many others.
Among the Steelbands of the past were: The Jungle Tigers, Pott Steelers, The Gunslingers, who are still in existence and others
Chester is truly an humble and caring man and father. You know you're a good father when your children can't stop singing your praises. He talked about his days, actuallt nights, seranding and the fun of it. He talked about the discipline of his days. When he first heard a pan being played, he fell in love with the sound. He told his aunt, who reared him, that he would like to learn to play pan. He was allowed to take pan lessons, providing he be back home, as soon as the classes were over. He talked about the 'Friendly Clashes' when two or more steelbands would meet on the streets of St. Maarten.

There is a book about Chester, written by Lasano Sekou. "Chester York - The Making Od A Pan Man"
The book is available at bookstores on the island and online at Amazon.com: ISBN:0-913441-36-8

SIMADOM.COM joins in Biggin' Up We Pan Man, Mr Chester York.