Victor Mathias Phillip was born in 1938, Point Fortin, Trinidad

He came to England in 1962, where he took up employment as a factory worker in Birmingham. 

Victor enjoyed playing steelpans with his friends while growing up in Trinidad, therefore it was only natural that he would eventually start his own steelband after becoming settled in his new environment.

His first band was called Tropical Harmony, where he enlisted the renowned pan tuner Dudley Dickson as a band member to which they had much success.

In 1974, Victor embarked on a career change in order to promote steelpan culture nationally. He joined the Commonwealth Institute to lecture on steelband music. This enabled him to forge long lasting relationships with many enthusiasts throughout England.

In 1977, he became the steelpan tutor for the Education Authority in Coventy and decided to relocate to this area. 

Victor taught steelband at Broad Heath School. The success of the Broad Heath Steel Orchestra attracted members from the local community and pupils from other school steelbands, all eager to join the band. As this was not possible, in 1978 Victor decided to set up Phase One Steelband - a more inclusive group emanating from pupils he taught at Broad Hill School.

In the early 1980s Victor also held the position of Steel Band Adviser based at Broad Heath School.

In 1987, Phase One won the London Panorama in their first year of entering the competition. Their tune of choice was Kitchener’s Pan in A Minor, arranged by Victor and his son Stephon.

Like father, like son, like daughter and so the family affair with steelpans continued. It was not long before his daughter Beverly was making a name for herself in the steelpan community as a player and tutor.

Victor’s success as in the steelpan community led him to teach many young people the art of steelpan making and tuning. For many years he was an adjudicator for the UK Panorama Competition.

His services as tuner and pan maker were listed in Trinidad, America, and Europe. In 2003 he set up the ‘Tnt Pan Workshop’ to expand his services.

In 2009, Birmingham Music Service held their first Steelband Festival with Victor undertaking the role of adjudicator.

Although now retired, it would be fair to say the name Victor Phillips coupled with steelpans still resonates deservedly throughout the West Midlands.

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