US – Their visit is part of an ongoing collaborative relationship between the group and Associate Professor of Performing Arts Jeffrey Jones, who directs Skiffle USA, Sweet Briar’s own steel band. Jones has performed with Skiffle multiple times during visits to Trinidad, including during performances at the Panorama Competition in 2013 and 2018.
Jones has researched the special place that steel bands have in Trinidad’s culture. “My work seeks to illuminate how pannists conceptualize the value of their musical experiences and employ this value towards their chosen ends,” Jones explained in 2012. “For most, musical nationalism is one small piece of a larger puzzle. Social networks, intrinsic fulfillment, and the like, are just as important to them, if not more so.” Pannists, he adds, claim their musical experience has helped them in social situations: making friends, finding work, and mediating or avoiding conflict.
This will be the orchestra’s third visit to Sweet Briar, having visited previously in 2017 and 2014. As in their earlier visits, the performance on May 8 will be the culmination of a week of activities between the orchestra, Sweet Briar students and students from universities and local high schools.