Festival Music and Culture of the Caribbean - Coastal Carolina University
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Festival Music and Culture of the Caribbean

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  • Location: Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
  • Trinidad and Tobago Country Report
  • Travel/Program Dates: Dec. 27, 2019-Jan. 10, 2020
  • Courses Offered:
    MUS 207 World Music
    ANTH 315 The Caribbean
  • Cost to Participate: $3,281 plus tuition
  • Application Information
  • Online Application

This faculty-led program offers the unique opportunity for students to experience the cultural traditions and music of Trinidad and Tobago during the dual-island nation’s preparations for the Trinidad Carnival festival. The newly formed Winter Break term makes it possible to travel abroad during the country’s peak preparation season. As a part of this international education experience, Chants will engage in the study of Trinidadian and Tobagonian festival traditions. Students can explore the rich musical history of Trinidad through several folkloric and popular musical performance traditions such as calypso, soca, steel pan, parang, extempo, tamboo bamboo and chutney.

Additionally, students will observe different musical traditions firsthand by participating in rehearsals and performances of various musical styles. Academic study of the islands’ traditions will teach students about the African, British, Indian, French and Spanish influences that enrich the history and the present of Trinidad and Tobago.

Physical Requirements: city and beach walking are part of daily excursions on the island.


Course Information

Students participants can take ONLY ONE of the following courses. Credits earned during this Winter Break program will count as part of the Spring 2020 semester.

MUS 207 World Music. (3 credits). (Prereq: none). This course examines diverse musical traditions from around the world. The Trinidad and Tobago study abroad section of this course is designed to provide an opportunity for students to travel outside of the United States to personally experience a different musical culture that is outside of the direct influence of Western music practice and history. Satisfies Core Goal H.
Instructor: Jesse Willis

ANTH 315 The Caribbean. (3 credits). (Prereq: none). The Caribbean region is comprised of islands, such as Bahamas and Trinidad, and continental regions, including Belize, Suriname, and Guyana. The Caribbean is culturally diverse, consisting of peoples from various regions of the world, including China, India, and West Africa. This course explores the history, development, and “culture” of the Caribbean by interrogating how the intersections of various forces—including slavery, colonialism, politics, music, and migration—shaped the region.
Instructor: Gillian Richards-Greaves

Program Leaders

Dr. Jesse Willis, Assistant Professor, Department of Music
jwillis@coastal.edu, 843-349-2776
Dr. Jesse Willis is an Associate Professor of Music and the Director of Percussion Studies at Coastal Carolina University. He holds a Master of Music degree from Indiana University and a Doctor of Music degree from Texas Tech University. As a performer and scholar, Jesse’s creative interests have led him to explore the music of Africa as well as Afro-centric musical traditions of the Caribbean and South America. He currently directs CalypSamba, the CCU World Percussion Ensemble, which was invited to perform at the 2015 Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC). He has led several successful student travel programs around the Carolinas (Columbia, Wilmington, Charleston) as well as a 30-student travel program to San Antonio, TX for 5 days/4 nights for their PASIC performance. Jesse also traveled to Trinidad as an extra chaperone for a Texas Tech University program (May 2009). Dr. Willis is well versed in the musical traditions and cultural celebrations of Trinidad Carnival.  


Dr. Gillian Richards-Greaves, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology and Geography
grichards@coastal.edu, 843-349-6459
Dr. Gillian Richards-Greaves is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology and Geography at Coastal Carolina University. She earned dual PhDs. in Ethnomusicology and Cultural Anthropology from Indiana University, Bloomington, and a BA-MA in Music-Education with minor in Mathematics, from Hunter College of the City University of New York (CUNY). Her research encompasses the musical, cultural, linguistic, and ritual expressions of the African Diaspora, with particular emphasis on the connections between Africa, the Caribbean and the United States. She has conducted research on kweh-kweh, an African Guyanese pre-wedding ritual, and is currently researching the culture and identity of the Gullah-Geechee of South Carolina. Dr. Richards-Greaves also serves as the Assistant Director for the Charles Joyner Institute for Gullah and African Diaspora Studies at Coastal Carolina University.


Cost to Participate = Program Fee ($3,281) + Tuition (varies) + Out-of-pocket Expenses

The tuition for this course is included in Spring semester. 

Included in Program Fee: Roundtrip airfare from U.S. to Trinidad and Tobago; accommodations while abroad; ground-based transportation; two meals per day; organized activities; host institution fees; and emergency medical insurance ($1.80 a day, for every day traveling). 

Out-of-pocket Expenses: Between $100-150 for meals not included in program fee. Please note that this estimate will vary based on individual spending habits and does not cover the cost of a new passport. Students should ask their program leaders for more details about estimated out-of-pocket expenses.


Payment Schedule

Payment Due Date Amount Due
Deposit Sept. 13, 2019 $300 (refundable before commitment deadline Sept. 30)
Program Fee Payment Oct. 25, 2019 $2,981
Tuition Payment Jan. 1, 2020 Paid as part of regular Spring tuition

Deposits can be made in person at Student Accounts or by phone. After acceptance to the program, the payment of the program fee as well as payment of tuition can be made online through WebAdvisor or in-person/by phone through Student Accounts. Tuition charges are distinct and different from program fee charges. Please note that payments made with a debit or credit card will be charged a service fee of 2.7 percent. For more information about methods of payment, visit Student Accounts.

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