As we come to the end of my birth month, March Madness college basketball and (last but not least) Women’s History Month, I would like to highlight the first female bass pan player that I ever saw “up close”, Ms. Sandra L. Blood. Sandra also happens to be my first cousin, Pelham Goddard’s cousin, and (journalist) Peter Blood’s sister, so I may have some bias admittedly.
I really cannot remember which band she started with, but I remember that she was an icon with Fertrin Pandemonium, as I was a Fertrin operating technician (at Pt. Lisas) during that time. Sandra made it look so easy, as she effortlessly ran through any riff that arrangers threw at her, and she was not robotic about it. She moved with the rhythm, as if they were conjoined twins from the same womb. Later on, she would bless Renegades with her musical magic, helping to solidify their harmonic standard under the legendary Jit Samaroo.
So, while there are many more famous “Women in Pan”, and while Sandra L. Blood may not be a household name within the international steelpan community, I posit that she be included in the conversation. Again, I come with my own bias as being an influencing factor in my suggestion. Sandra, now retired, continues in her efforts to empower women and girls today, the same way she empowered those steelbands of yesteryear. More power to her, and thank you to ALL women in this rich subculture, including those, like my mom (“Bunny”), who may have never played pan, but certainly held down the family forts when “daddy wasn’t there”. George D. Goddard.