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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, July 13, 2024


April 9, 2002 – Did you ever wish someone had asked Wilbur LaMotta what he was looking at when he wrote "Come Back to the Virgin Islands?" Or if Claude A. "Benny" Benjamin was homesick when he wrote "Virgin Islands Christmas Time," a song that never achieved the fame of his "When the Lights Go On Again" and "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire." Did gifted Cyril Creque prefer writing music or his poems? What would composer Hugo Bornn, whose dissertation set a course of music in the public schools based on indigenous island folk music, think about present-day island music?
Now comes an opportunity to be sure we don't lose the words, music and thoughts of our present-day musicians, composers and performers. And the Institute seeks residents to assist with the gathering of the history before it is gone from the present day. The June workshop is scheduled on St. Thomas, and St. Croix residents are welcome to apply. A similar workshop, however is planned for January 2003 on St. Croix.
The Alton Augustus Adams Music Research Institute is accepting applications from Virgin Islands residents interested in participating in its "Documenting Living Treasures" workshop on collecting, documenting, and recording V.I. musical traditions.
The Institute, first presented to the Virgin Islands public in a two-day event last November, is founded on Alton Augustus Adams Sr.'s papers and archives, carefully saved first by himself and later by his family. Organized as a branch of the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College in Chicago, the Institute aims to locate and preserve materials not only from or about Adams but all Virgin Islands musicians, past and present; not only from or about Virgin Islands music but also of "the smaller Caribbean islands which are in danger of losing their traditions," in the word of Center director Samuel A. Floyd Jr.
Applications for this first workshop are due April 19, and space is limited. The five-day workshop will be held June 4-8 at the Virgin Islands Cultural Heritage Institute. The workshop will also focus on designing oral history projects in an effort to preserve the stories of Virgin Islanders who keep V.I. traditional music alive. Applicants selected to participate in the workshop will receive stipends for successfully completing the workshop, and submitting and presenting their oral history projects. Applicants must have a high school diploma.
Applications are available at the V.I. State Historic Preservation Office, 17 Kongens Gade, and at the V.I. Cultural Heritage Institute, 5-6 Kongens Gade, the street popularly known as "Education Street," down from Government Hill. For more information, contact Janet Mescus at 776-8605 or jmescus@sprynet.com
For more on the Center for Black Music Research in Chicago and the Adams Institute, go to the website at www.cbmr.org
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