SBC’s Jones lands VFIC grant for research in Trinidad

Posted on April 24, 2013 by Staff Writer

Jeff Jones drums with Skiffle Steel at the 2013 Panorama competition in Trinidad. Jeff Jones drums with Skiffle Steel at the 2013 Panorama competition in Trinidad.

The Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges has announced that Sweet Briar College’s visiting assistant professor of music Jeffrey Jones is the recipient of the 2013 Maurice L. Mednick Memorial grant.

Jones received the award in support of his research project “Music Education and Community Development in Southern Trinidad.” In collaboration with the Trinidadian pan orchestra Skiffle Steel, Jones, a percussionist himself, has been analyzing the value of pan music to the country’s cultural and social environment since 2006.

“Many people involved with steel orchestras in Trinidad find that, in articulating and celebrating cultural history, pan has value as a public good — nurturing social cohesion, teaching discipline and work ethic, helping people develop confidence and self-esteem, keeping urban centers a site for vibrant community interaction, and the like,” he wrote in his grant proposal.

Earlier this year, Jones, who also directs Sweet Briar’s Chamber Orchestra, joined Skiffle Steel in the 2013 Panorama competition. His next step will be to conduct field research with the band in southern Trinidad this summer.

“[M]y specific focus will be on piloting a documentation protocol and teacher training program that will allow Skiffle to enhance the music learning process,” he said.

For more information about Jones and his project, click here.

The Maurice L. Mednick Memorial Fellowship was created in honor of a young Norfolk industrialist whose family and business associates wished to perpetuate his name by establishing a memorial that would emphasize his and the donors’ strong interest in higher education. The Mednick Memorial Fund aims to encourage the professional development of college teachers and improve their academic competence through fellowships for research and advanced study.

Founded in 1952, the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges is a nonprofit fundraising partnership supporting the programs and students of 15 leading independent colleges in the Commonwealth.