Elias (l) and Strong (r) present their research findings at recent SEMSEC conference.
Wiser Elias and Tavaris Strong are research graduate assistants who are unusual players at The Southern Academy for the Performing Arts. The Florida A & M University music majors attended the conference that was held in San Fernando, Trinidad’s second largest city. The two young men presented their research in a forum reserved for professors and graduate students. The professional meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology Southeast Caribbean Chapter (SEMSEC) gave the students the opportunity to demonstrate their potential and play a role in future music innovation.
Strong’s research investigates the Sacred Steel gospel tradition in Florida (an instrument invented in Hawaii) using digital sound analysis. Elias’s explores the intersections of Avantgarde and urban music cultures. According to Sager, Ph.D., of the College of Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities and the Institute for Music Research, who supervises the students, “Tavaris and Wisler were doing good research. I saw the potential for them to take it to a higher level and share it with peer researchers. There were some late nights, but they did what it takes. I’m so proud of them!”