St. Kitts and Nevis Music Project

The St. Kitts and Nevis Music Project aims to develop a comprehensive music program for at risk youth in the Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis.


The inspiration for the SKN Music Project was a direct result of the successful Community Bikes project in 2012 to deliver 75 bicycles to SKN in support of two promising programs for at risk youth. The overwhelming success of that project, the result of a broad collaborative effort that engaged organizations and individuals from both countries, prompted a request from host country representatives for help with another high priority project: developing a music program for at risk youth.

The case is compelling: St. Kitts and Nevis, a breathtaking two-island nation with a rich heritage, vibrant culture and stunning natural beauty, struggles with one of the highest murder rate per capita in the world, the result of youth gang violence and drug related issues. The Minister of Culture, along with the country’s two Music Specialists, have a vision: to develop a music program for young people as a vital alternative. In a country of only 41,000— the smallest sovereign nation in the Americas—a music program that will engage at risk youth starting at an early age can have a major impact. Indeed, there is ample precedent for the success of similar programs around the globe.

The Project

Their program has 3 goals: to develop a community band (in the style of a military marching band), to expand their international brass band and to preserve the country’s indigenous music, String Band music. (Like Calypso and Reggae, String Band music has African roots and features instruments of African origin. There is one remaining craftsman on the islands who still makes the instruments. The goal is to preserve the music, the heritage and the craft before the opportunity is lost.) To succeed, they have provided a list of needs: instruments, equipment, music supplies, music, instrument repair, master classes and more.

Beyond the three primary initiatives, the music specialists hope to develop smaller ensemble groups that will learn and perform a variety of styles of music.

In Tandem looks to engage schools, music programs and others in the success of the project. These groups can play a leadership role by helping to collect instruments and provide the resources requested. In return for helping the project succeed, schools and organizations are invited to participate in a broad range of opportunities for direct exchange with their peers in St. Kitts and Nevis including:

  • Real time exchange of musical performances, using Skype, Smart Board and other available technologies.
  • Chat room conversations among students.
  • Exchange of history, heritage and cultural traditions with a host of representatives from St. Kitts and Nevis, including the country’s Ambassador to the U.S., who has enthusiastically endorsed the project.
  • Opportunities to meet in person with nationals from St. Kitts and Nevis, including a current Colgate student and a doctor now living in Chittenango.
  • Opportunities for visits to our area by young people and performing groups from St. Kitts and Nevis, and reciprocal opportunities for student musicians from Madison County schools

This is a 3-5 year project. Music is the common bond. The project provides an opportunity for music students in schools and others to have a real impact on the lives of their peers in a neighboring country. At the same time, students will engage with the international community through music, and in doing so broaden their world view through an exciting exchange of music, culture, heritage and history. Through music, students will have an opportunity to represent their school, their community and their country.

Instruments and Equipment Needed

To implement their ambitious programs, Music Specialists Nigel Williams, St. Kitts Department of Culture and Santoy Barrett, Nevis Cultural Development Foundation, have submitted the following list of instruments, equipment and resources needed. Instruments and equipment listed are for the start up phase. Additional resources will be needed as the programs develop:

Nigel Williams

Nigel Williams

St. Kitts 1

  • 10 trumpets
  • 10 clarinets
  • 5 alto sax
  • 5 tenor sax
  • 2 sousaphone
  • 3 baritone/euphonium
  • 3 french horns
  • 3 mellophones
  • 4 flutes
  • 2 piccolos
  • 2 oboes
  • 1 baritone sax
  • 1 tuba
  • 6 marching side drums
  • 2 pairs hand cymbals
  • 2 bass drums
  • 3 tenor drums
  • 1 computer
  • 1 laser jet printer

1 String instruments will be needed for the second phase of the project.

Santoy Barrett

Santoy Barrett


  • 15 trumpets
  • 10 alto sax
  • 10 tenor sax
  • 10 trombones
  • 10 drums
  • 10 flutes
  • 2 keyboards

String Band 2

  • 12 fifes
  • 12 banjos
  • 12 guitars
  • 6 mandolins
  • 8 quatros
  • 4 guierros
  • 4 pairs maracas
  • 4 bajas (bass pipes)

2 Most are specially made instruments that will need to be purchased.

Ensemble Groups
  • Keyboards
  • Guitars
  • Bass
  • Drum Set
     *  Contributions of all instruments are welcome as the project prepares to broaden programming.

Additional equipment and supplies

  • Scanner/printer/copier
  • Stock of music manuscript paper
  • Stock of strings
  • Accessories (corks, reeds, oils, cleaning kits, supplies)

There will be additional expense for workshops, master classes, music camps, instrument repair, transportation and more.

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