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Creative team from UWI Saint Augustine Campus in Belize

The University of Belize and the Anglican Diocese are hosting 48 persons from the Saint Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies. The group is from the department of Creative and Festival Arts. They arrived in Belize today, and will be in the country for ten days to perform in three concerts and also take part in workshops. Jessel Murray music director and principal conductor of the UWI Arts Chorale and co-director of the UWI Arts Steel says the creative and festival arts is a multidisciplinary arts development department that offers certificates and degrees in music.

Jessel Murray – Music Director
“The UWI Arts Chorale is what I call a standard university choral which sings all of the masterworks everything Mozart, folk music, shorter works, longer works, we do lots of things as well but it’s a literate group so we are able to learn large amounts of music very quickly, present them in the European tradition of stand and deliver and the more West Indian tradition of move and deliver. The UWI Arts Steel is one of the few groups within Trinidad and Tobago where steel players not only play by ear but are fully literate. It’s a growing tradition within Trinidad and Tobago to have literate musicians, still unfortunately the vast majority of persons play by ear but what happens with our literacy is that it allows us to learn large bodies of music. So we play Calypso original arrangements, we play transcriptions of the world famous panorama competitions, we do transcriptions of classical works, we do works for Jazz, we do works for just about everything that is possible and we are bringing that here, that steel players to Belize but as well what we do is that we have something unique which is the mixture of Choral and steel music together that is not something that you are going to find anywhere else in the world easily.

Harrson Pilgrim, the Chairman of the board of trustees of the University of Belize says the country has much to learn from the group.

Harrson Pilgrim – Chairman UB Board of Trustees
“Both organizations, the diocese as well as UB cater to young people, they help develop education and culture and the UWI visit is going to enhance all of those activities. We expect that young people will get a fresh burst of cultural experience and exchange. We have been exposed to lots of steel band music here in Belize in the past and I think that this group is going to be able to give you the full range of the capability of both chorale and steel pan music, it’s going to be a kind of blend of one of the oldest of art forms in music and one of the newests forms of art form in music. We are looking forward to providing workshops for our steelband members in Belize as well as workshops for choirs in Belize City and Belmopan.”

The concerts start on Thursday evening at the Bliss at seven o’clock. The Belmopan concert will be held at the UB Jaguar Auditorium on Tuesday next week starting at six in the evening. Murray says that their visit to Belize kicks off the UWI’s celebration of its thirtieth anniversary. The group has done a number of tours.