Summer of Jamaican Studies

EarthKry performs in Lloyd Ultan Recital Hall

School of Music faculty members often create exciting opportunities to collaborate with international colleagues and organizations. Two of these faculty projects include work alongside the Jamaican Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Education, Youth, and Information. As part of the School of Music’s summer programming, Ferguson Hall hosted the International Summer Institute for Reggae Studies facilitated by Scott Currie for the wider Minnesota community, and the Jamaica Summer Arts Camp for music educators, facilitated by Akosua Addo. 

International Summer Institute for Reggae Studies

An innovative program organized and chaired by ethnomusicology professor Scott Currie, this summer’s Institute for Reggae Studies welcomed distinguished guest artists, researchers, and professionals from across the global reggae industry. The program welcomed panelists from Jamaica’s University of the West Indies and England’s Birmingham City University as well as independent scholars from Ireland, Jamaica, and the United States. Musical groups EarthKry and International Reggae All Stars participated as clinicians. 

Scott Currie (left) gives a lifetime achievement award to reggae artist Leroy Sibbles (right)

A lifetime achievement award was presented to reggae legend Leroy Sibbles, pioneering Studio One bassist and original lead singer/songwriter of the Heptones. Sibbles gave musical demonstrations of his most influential bass conceptions, following testimonials to his groundbreaking artistry from leading scholars Herbie Miller, Ken Bilby, and Carl Finlay. 

Throughout the week, participants engaged in roundtable discussions on a range of topics from the early Jamaican music industry to the history of reggae in Minnesota. They studied various advanced reggae performance techniques from bands like EarthKry – a group founded at Edna Manley College in Kingston, Jamaica – and rehearsed and performed reggae works explored in the clinics and demonstrations for a valedictory faculty-student concert. The week’s program concluded with a special concert featuring both groups of artist-clinicians presented by the Cedar Cultural Center in collaboration with the School of Music and the Organization for Strategic Development in Jamaica.  

The School of Music is the first and only music school in the nation to host weeklong intensive programs focused on reggae studies. Founding director Scott Currie reflected upon this distinctive achievement: “We are so very proud to have been able to present this second-ever U.S. Institute for Reggae Studies. This year's program builds and expands upon the success of our 2019 premiere program by bringing together reggae artists, educators, researchers, professionals, writers, filmmakers, and fans from across the country, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic in dialogue with their esteemed colleagues here in Minnesota.”

Jamaica Summer Arts Camp

In 2017, the School of Music and Winona State University, in collaboration with the Organization for Strategic Development in Jamaica, hosted the first forum on music education to establish a collaborative strategy for the review and implementation of the National Curriculum of Music in Jamaica in Minnesota. Since then, several projects have been formed as part of that collaboration, including the Jamaica Summer Arts Camp. The summer of 2018 saw the founding of Music in Schools Summer Camp in Church Teachers College, Mandeville, Jamaica. Scott Currie, University of Minnesota; Catharine Bushman, St. Cloud State University; and Jill Wilson, Luther College, IA, attended and taught instrumental music at the camp. 

Delegates from Jamaica and participants in the Jamaica Summer Arts Camp pose in front of Carlson

As part of the workshop for instructors in May, Music Educators from Jamaica visited Minnesota to conduct collaborations with local music educators, dance and theatre educators. Delegates from Jamaica included: Senior Education Officer, Mr. Marlon Williams  and Arts Coordinator, Mr. Matthew Silpot,  Ministry of Education, Youth, and Information, Mr. Andre’ Adman - Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts, Vinton Haughton, Director of Bands.

Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College, Mr. Everton Clarke, Church Teachers’ College, and Mrs. Janett Ismay-Kerr, Retired Dean, The Mico University College and representative of Organization for Strategic Development in Jamaica. The Minnesota educators will then travel and become facilitators for the camp in Jamaica later in July. 



International Summer Institute for Reggae Studies

We gratefully acknowledge the generous support from the Jamaican Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport and from the Imagine Fund that made this program possible, as well as the ongoing collaborations with the Jamaica Music Education Forum, the Organization for Strategic Development in Jamaica, the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, and the Jamaican Ministry of Education, Youth, and Information that have helped launch and sustain this initiative since its inception. Additional thanks goes to the University of the West Indies’ Institute for Caribbean Studies and Birmingham City University’s Global Reggae Research Program, along with all the panelists, clinicians, and participants. 

Jamaica Summer Arts Camp

Thank you to Wayland Richards, Executive Director of the Organization for Strategic Development in Jamaica, for initiating the collaboration. Special thanks to Jamaican pianist Huntley Brown for the opening concert and Nick Gaudette of Edina High School for participating in the Reggae in High School Pilot program. The following colleagues gave presentations, Dr. Catherine Schmidt, Prof. Emeritus, Winona State University, Winona, MN; Dr. Aaron Lohmeyer, Performing Arts Center, Winona State University, Winona, MN; Dr. Linda Berger, Prof. Emeritus, St. Olaf University, Northfield, MN, Melanie Sheridan, Elementary Music Teacher, Winona Area Public Schools, Winona, MN, and Ann Joseph- Douglas, Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis, MN. Additional thanks goes to Maggie Bergeron, Department of Dance and Theatre Arts, University of Minnesota, who organized our visits to observe Lura Osterhaus and Alex Eady working with 9th and 10th graders at St. Paul Conservatory for the Performing Arts, and Deborah Karp Castrenze, teaching dance at Mississippi Creative Arts School, St. Paul, MN.

The Workshop in Minnesota would not have been possible without the support of the University of Minnesota, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the College of Liberal Arts, the School of Music, and the School of Music staff, including Interim Director, Gwendolyn Freed, Communications and Social Media staff, and Technical Support staff. 


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