DATE OF BIRTH: August 6, 1924
PLACE OF BIRTH: St. James, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad
  • Harlem Nightingales
  • Nob Hill
  • Sun Valley
  • Tuner
  • Player
  • Arranger
  • CAREER:                                       Growing up in St. James, Port-of-Spain, "Sonny" Roach began his career in the 1940s with Harlem Nightingales before leaving to join Nob Hill. After a disagreement with Nob Hill's captain, Roach left to form Sun Valley, taking with him some promising players such as Anthony Williams. An expert ping-pong player, Roach became the leading tuner, arranger, and captain of Sun Valley. Despite his lack of musical training, Roach invented an alto pan, the predecessor to the modern second-pan, and took Sun Valley to victory in the first islandwide steelband competition in 1946. He also won the ping-pong solo at the same competition. He was one of eleven panmen selected to join TASPO as the Trinidad & Tobago representatives at the 1951 Music Festival in England. However, Roach became ill after the SS San Mateo left for England on July 6, 1951, and he returned to Trinidad after being let off in Martinique. Roach's inability to get along with other players led to his demise. Players such as Anthony Williams eventually left Sun Valley and Roach faded into oblivion.
    DIED: 1986
    Compiled by Ronald C. Emrit