“Vince [Cato] has not just been my teacher, he’s been my friend.’’

By Lincoln DePradine

 Teenager Zarina Adams is among a group of proficient pan musicians in Toronto. Like hundreds in the city, she was tutored by Vincentian-Canadian Vince Fraser-Cato.

Vince Fraser-Cato and Zarina Adams

“Vince has not just been my teacher, he’s been my friend,’’ Adams said about Fraser-Cato, who died recently after a few months of hospitalization.

Fraser-Cato was born 1934 in St Vincent and the Grenadines, where he was pioneer in the steelband movement.

His involvement in pan continued after he moved to Canada, establishing a thriving solo pan career and releasing recordings of his music. He also was a member of music groups, tutored at schools and in the community, and won numerous awards for panmanship.

The mourners at the funeral for Fraser-Cato, held in Malvern at the Church of the Nativity, included Adams who paid tribute with a steelpan performance.

Adams was only seven years old when she started learning to play the pan and, at the request of Fraser-Cato, joined the Shiloh Orchestra.

She’s now a solo singer and pannist, performing at various community events, including last Sunday’s official launch of the Vincentian disaster preparedness committee, CARI-ON – Conducting Active Relief Impacting Our Nation.

“I’m still speechless,’’ Adams said in reference to Fraser-Cato’s death. “It’s still something that I can’t believe it happened.’’

Adams, who turns 20 next month, is also a dancer and a singer. She’s in the second year of studies in child and youth care at Humber College.