Faculty talk to center on steel drum music

A faculty member in St. Scholastica's music department will offer insights about the history and cultural impact of steel drum music during a free talk at 3:40 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2 in room 4119 of Tower Hall on campus.

Jeremy Craycraft, assistant professor of percussion and director of the College's World Drumming Ensemble, Drumline, and Steel Band, will present "A Nation Evolves Through Song and Steel."

Last January, Craycraft spent 11 days in Tunapuna, Trinidad as a briefly "adopted" member of the Birdsong Academy and Steel Orchestra. Tunapuna is an urban neighborhood near Trinidad's capital, Port of Spain, which is the cultural and fine arts hub of the nation. Birdsong is one of the countless neighborhood community steel bands found throughout Trinidad & Tobago.

Craycraft's goal was to travel to the birthplace of "pan," which is what the people of Trinidad call the steel drum, and perform in Trinidad and Tobago's pre-eminent musical competition, Panorama. During his talk, he will share aspects of this modern performance experience, coupled with the history of the steel drum.

The history of pan is inextricably linked to Calypso, a song style born in the early twentieth century. Craycraft will explore how Calypso served as a vehicle for social and political commentary.

Craycraft's presentation will show how musical expression and creativity are fundamental elements of humanity that cannot be stopped, regardless of circumstance. His talk will be followed by a Q and A session. This event is open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

Friday's workshop is part of a faculty colloquium series now in its tenth year. The series provides visibility to diverse research projects by faculty members in St. Scholastica's School of Arts and Letters.