Nineteen students from Delaware University in the United States were given a formal reception last Wednesday, by Deputy Mayor of Arima, Patricia Cedeno-Metivier, who welcomed them at the Arima Town Hall. The students are in this country as part of a cultural exchange programme. Selwyn Williams and US Embassy representative Michael Mitchel, were also there to formally welcome the students. The latter informed the students that it was always a pleasure to have citizens of the US visit different countries in a cultural exchange. He said, “They (the students) would get a better understanding of how other persons view their country.”

Former Pan Trinbago member, Selwyn Williams, who was instrumental and one of two key figures in the twinning process, said students from Philadelphia were also targeted to be part of the exchange programme. The second key person in the process was assistant professor at Delaware University, Harvey Prize. “Most of the students are not majoring in music and the only prerequisite for them being here is a willingness to hang out with him for three weeks,” Prize  said.

He further explained that the students came because they were solely interested in learning about the steelpan as a musical instrument, and this was the first time any cultural exchange had happened between Delaware and T&T. For two and a half hours each day, the students will be learning theory, harmony and melody on the steelpan. Their aim is to learn ten songs in the three weeks that they will be in the country. They will also be learning the art of putting together calypso lyrics. Prof  Steve Hemlink, who is another professor at the university of Delaware, will be teaching some Caribbean Literature, which will focus on both popular and minor writers.

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