A trailblazer who changed music education in the state of Wisconsin is returning to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, where she introduced Caribbean music into the curriculum.
Jeannine Remy, founder of the UWO Steelband, will be a special guest Friday, April 26, at a Titan Steel Alumni Concert hosted by the UWO Music Department.
The event takes place at 7:30 p.m. at the UW Oshkosh Arts and Communications Building Music Hall.
Performances will feature UWO World Percussion Ensemble and Titan Steel, both directed by Elizabeth DeLamater. The concert will feature alumni performers and music composed and arranged by Remy. A senior lecturer at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad, Remy founded the UWO steelband when she was the percussion professor in 1990.
“Though she was here (UW Oshkosh) for only two years, Dr. Remy’s students remember her so fondly that they are delighted to reconnect with her,” DeLamater said. “We have four alumni players who will join us on stage after 29 years. We hope many more will join us in the audience. At our rehearsal, it was thrilling to see current Titan Steel members playing alongside UWO alums and Dr. Remy.”
Remy first visited Trinidad in 1989 as part of her doctoral research at the University of Arizona. She has resided there since 2003 and teaches courses in percussion, steelpan, world music and music of the Caribbean.
DeLamater “guarantees” that audience members at Friday’s concert will have a great time and will walk out of the music hall singing or humming at least one catchy tune.
The concert starts with music from Senegal on sabre drums played by the World Percussion Ensemble.
“The music considered to be highly influential to American blues, rock and funk is so cool, it will knock your socks off,” DeLamater predicted.
Next, the steel band will perform with Remy—playing some music written by young celebrated composers and some by older legends. Two pieces will be Remy’s own compositions. They will finish with a fun 1980s throwback that combines both ensembles.
Remy grew up in Sturgeon Bay and attended Northern Illinois University—the school with the first steelband in the country. Remy returned to Wisconsin and taught at UWO, where she founded the steelband. It was the second in the state and first at a collegiate institution.
“Dr. Remy introduced Caribbean music into the curriculum, which set the standard for the diverse musical traditions taught at UWO and around the state today,” DeLamater said. “One could say, Dr. Remy changed music education in the state of Wisconsin for the better.”
If you go: General admission for the concert Friday is $6; and free for UWO students with an ID. Non-UWO students are $4; and children 12 and under are admitted for $1.