With roots from the Caribbean islands, Suzette has embraced a major similarity with her native Toronto –the rich, vibrant and diverse cultures. This love of culture has allowed her to connect with various groups and participate in countless events.
For over 15 years, she has played with Toronto’s oldest steelband, Afropan and has also played with Melange Musical Steel.
In 2000, with the encouragement of Jamea Zuberi (Steelpannist & Associate Principal of Linden School for Girls at the time) Suzette taught steelpan for 4 years at the Linden School for Girls and eventually implemented a steelpan program for children with the Afropan Community Campus Group (Afropan Steelband). She has also instructed students at Pape Avenue and Ryerson Elementary School and held workshops for children, focusing on cooperation and team building through the use of the steelpan. Topics taught include history, culture, international exposure, and current innovations. (continued below)
Special thanks go to Earl La Pierre jr, who mentored her upon taking her first steps towards being a soloist. Additionally, Suzette recognizes those who had an impact on her whilst on the journey of discovering the joy of the steelpan. These include: Earl La Pierre Sr, Ian Jones, Andre Rouse, Jamea Zuberi, Wayne Donawa, Tom Sosa, Gary Pena, Leona Lake, Mike Rosteing, Jerry Jerome, Duvone Stewart, Pat McNeilly & James Gregoire. Most honourable mention goes to her father Frank Forde, a classical guitarist who's motto for attaining goals were to always "GO FOR IT!"
Her pride in the steelpan is whole heartedly passionate, as decades earlier the instrument was stigmatized. The association with the instrument or anyone “man” who played it was looked down upon. Women were absolutely forbidden.
International exposure eventually allowed for social barriers to be broken and the steelpan to become acceptable for all to participate and enjoy.
Suzette welcomes musicians of all backgrounds and genres to join her on the journey of educating, enlightening and inspiring
YWCA Week Without Violence 2002
Jessie's Centre for Teenagers
Using the Art of Performance to Discuss Violence for Young Women
YWCA Girl Jam 2003
Talented and dynamic group of young women from all across Toronto
performing in support of a community without violence.
YWCA Women's Play Day 2004
Introductory Steelpan Workshop
A charitable event in support of the women's Breakthrough Program
Community Support Program Holiday Event 2005
Support for Women and Children
Autumn Leaves on Steel 2005
Bathurst Street Theatre
Steelpan Soloist Showcase
Pedagogies of Crossing - Book Launch 2006
Jacqui Alexander 2006
Heart to Heart Fundraiser 2007
Our Lady of Good Counsel Caribbean Catholic Church & Centre
Thanksgiving Service 2007
Honouring the late St. Lucian Prime Minister
Rt. Hon. Sir John George Melvin Compton
Network for Learning Fundraiser 2007
Visions of Science
Black History Month launch 2008/2009/2010
Ministry of the Attorney General
Winter Caribbean Fest 2009
Introductory Steelpan Workshop
A charitable event in support of Alexandra Park Community Centre
L.C.B.O. Diversity Day 2008/2009/2010/2012/2013/2014
M.A.C.A. Scholarship Ball 2009
Event recognizing and awarding promising students pursuing post secondary education
Journey of Discovery Conference 2010/2011/2012/2013
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
Workshop teaching children about the history and culture of the steelpan
Sickle Cell Red Carpet Awareness and Awards Gala 2010/2014
Event promoting programs benefiting persons with sickle cell disease: Tutoring, Counseling, Education Programs, Social Support, Outreach Services, Medical Services Support , Scholarship and Awareness
International Women's Day Centary Breakfast/Luncheon 2011/2012/2013
Event recognizing and reflecting on the accomplishments of women over the past century
Ministry of Diversity and Economic Trade 2011
Dufferin-Peel (In)Equity Conference 2011
Introductory Steelpan Workshop to teachers within the Dufferin-Peel School Board
More listings to come... CLICK to check out past events and photos in the BLOG section