Through our Community Building program, students can experience and explore music, meet professional musicians, and understand the impact of music on their own lives.
While Caribbean Music Institute is the academic and knowledge-based arm of United Jazz Foundation, promoting and housing a comprehensive musical, cultural, historical database of the heritage of the US Virgin Islands, our Community Building program is its musical expression.
As part of our mission to enhance the community of the US Virgin Islands, we organize free community concerts throughout the year to share this music and to create opportunities for the students to perform on stage with professional musicians. Each concert features local musicians, as well as professional musicians from around the world in combination with the up-and-coming talented students of our programs.
Additionally, UJF invests in the community through the VI Smiles initiative which promotes tourism in the USVI while providing educational support for elementary school students.
A CASE HISTORY
In 1998, Dion Parson, who grew up listening to reggae, calypso, African music, and much more on the US Virgin Islands, co-founded 21st Century Band with fellow Virgin Islander Ron Blake. The band features Caribbean Jazz, a mix of the native rhythms of the USVI and the rich musical traditions of jazz. “Mentoring Through the Arts of Music” helps perpetuate this kind of creativity and provides a relaxed, yet challenging environment that encourages the exploration of various musical cultures. This provides an opportunity for students to participate in musical collaborations, to broaden their knowledge of music and to someday create a new jazz sound, or to elevate the music of their own cultures.
UJF focuses on the positive impact of community-based programs, which strengthen the community and are designed to encourage participants to give back—whether it’s through participation in free community concerts or helping to mentor a new generation of musicians. Each community concert is executed in conjunction with local performance spaces, hotels, and restaurants in the community where the concerts occur. The concerts showcase participating students as they perform with local as well as visiting world-class musicians. Dion Parson also enrolls the members of his band to mentor, teach, and perform each year.
Through our Community Building program, students can experience and explore music, meet professional musicians, and understand the impact of music on their own lives. The program also enables each student to focus on his or her instrument of choice and to connect with musicians who are proficient in that specific instrument.