USM seminar tonight on visual, performing arts | THE DAILY HERALD

POND ISLAND–University of St. Martin (USM) will continue with its 2018-2019 seminar series on the topic arts and academia in St. Maarten at USM’s Lecture Hall at 6:30 this evening.

Coinciding with the start of Carnival season, the doors of the USM Lecture Hall will be open to the public with presentations and dialogue on the topic.

“It is during the month of April, our Carnival season, when St. Maarteners work collectively to showcase their music, performances and visual arts in public. And so our faculty and staff thought it would be appropriate to dedicate this seminar to the Arts. Our purpose is to stimulate thinking on what role the university can play in promoting the arts. This includes music, theatre, dance, literature and visual arts,” USM President Antonio Carmona said in a press release on Tuesday.

Three local experts in the fields of performing and visual arts will be presenting their knowledge, vision and opinions on how the community can benefit from the arts and how we can cultivate, preserve and encourage cultural production.

Scheduled to speak is the Ministry of Education, Culture Youth and Sports Culture Department head Clara Reyes, who has an extensive career and experience in performing arts and art productions. Reyes holds a master’s degree in Fine Arts in dance and choreography. She worked as an Arts Instructor in several high schools and co-founded National Institute of Arts and Imbali Centre for Creative Movement.

Reyes will be discussing, among other things, the impact and value arts have on the wellbeing of the community.

One of the major constituents of arts is literature, which brings USM to invite leading St. Martin national activist, cultural organiser, and trade unionist Alex “Shujah” Reiph to also speak. Reiph is president of Conscious Lyrics Foundation and producer/host of the long-running Conscious Lyrics radio magazine, on 95.9FM.

He is also a founding member of the St. Martin Educational and Cultural Organization (SMECO) in 1984. In 2003 he partnered with Lasana M. Sekou and started the St. Martin Book Fair, which celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2018.

When discussing arts, the conversation always leads to music, and in observance of the 50th Anniversary of Carnival on St. Maarten, the seminar will look at how local talent is developed.

Scheduled presenter Edsel “Touché” Eusebius was born and raised in St. Martin and started his music career at a very young age. Being raised in a musically-oriented family he had been exposed to sound and performance since birth. His grandfather was the founder of a very popular folkloric band “Tanny and The Boys” that plays traditional St. Maarten music.

His uncles also had a steel pan orchestra and everyone would practice in the yard where Touché lived. He would at times accompany his uncles to some of their performances and would even sing a song or two, and this is where his musical journey began.

Touché is a well-known bass player who played for many prominent and well-known groups such as “Intwine” and “Ziggi Recado.” He also produces records and mixes albums. He has produced for numerous bands and artistes such as Orange Grove, Patrick Grayham and Ziggi Recado, amongst others. Touché returned to his island of birth in 2017 to focus on helping the youth of St. Maarten achieve great things through music.

“We are hoping to attract a good crowd of those genuinely interested in arts production and those who want to know more about how the development of the university can benefit the study and practice of performance,” Carmona said, adding that the line of speakers should lay the basis for an interesting and fruitful dialogue.

The evening will begin with words from USM lecturer and UNESCO Sint Maarten Secretary-General Marcellia Henry.

Source: The Daily Herald