Richard Noel is a musician and facilitator using percussion as a method of healing, enjoyment, and community building. A longtime performer, former board member, and steady stage manager for Tucson Meet Yourself, Richard has brought life to this festival for many years. Richard was born and raised in the twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago. As a child, he became fascinated with drumming and global rhythms, as drumming with his family and community was simply a part of daily life on the islands. As a young adult pursuing a career in aerospace engineering, Richard and his family relocated to the United States in 1998. In 2018, Richard was awarded a Master-Apprentice Artist Award from the Southwest Folklife Alliance for his work preserving traditions in steel pan and various Caribbean hand drums. Richard is also the founder and director of Jam2Grow, an arts-based program using drumming and other modalities to boost morale and teamwork, reduce stress, and stimulate self-expression and joy. His performances reveal the beauty and power of steel pan music from Trinidad and Tobago, drawing on percussion, storytelling, and humor to uplift audiences and share with them the lively culture of the Caribbean. Richard serves as an in-home crisis care therapist for at risk youth.
Photo by Steven Meckler