The Ambassadors’ Exchange, July 2019
Young Africa Works: Focus on Kenyan Youth, by Linet Othieno (Kenya)
Towards the end of May, Ghetto Classics had a performance at the UN Assembly. The theme was Innovation for Better Quality of Life in Cities and Communities. This month we also had the opportunity to perform at the launch of Young Africa Works (Kenya), courtesy of the MasterCard Foundation and the government of Kenya, at the Radisson Blu Hotel. At this event, leaders focused on Kenyan youth, specifically discussing:
-Transforming their productivity and income-generation by providing necessary equipment to young people.
-Investing in young people, especially in the education sector through the arts, sports and culture.
NBYO performs at Saint Andrews Kingsbrea Gardens, by Avery Kennedy (Canada)
In New Brunswick, the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra (NBYO), Moncton Youth Orchestra, and Sistema New Brunswick are coming to the end of their regular season. All three programs take a break from rehearsals and performances during the summer and start back up again in the fall. However, this does not mean that music stops in New Brunswick. During late June/early July, the programs hold their biggest event of the year. POPS New Brunswick is an annual concert in which members from all the New Brunswick Youth Orchestras share a stage at an outdoor concert, spanning the afternoon and evening. The concert is open to the public and located in the heart of Downtown Moncton. This concert is scheduled to take place on 30th June this year and will surely be one to remember.
On 8th June NBYO members loaded onto two tour buses and drove from Moncton and Saint John to Saint Andrews’ Kingsbrea gardens. The organization has been performing during the ARTrageous Festival for many years, and in the past two, have performed on the stage of the garden’s brand new outdoor amphitheater. The orchestra performed the second and fourth movements of Shostakovich’s “5th Symphony”, as well as selections from Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake Suite” and even an arrangement of “We are the Champions” by Queen. The concert was made extra special by the opportunity to perform again with the Troiselles, a trio made up of Isabelle Bujold, Nadine Hébert and Monique Poirier, who have collaborated many times with the NBYO to create some truly incredible and unique music.
OrKidstra’s End of Year Concert, by Jennifer Ong (Canada)
On 12 June, wrapping up a great season, OrKidstra had its last concert of the year, showcasing all of the students’ hard work and dedication. From eight-year-old students just starting their instruments to high school students in the advanced classes, everyone loved hearing each other’s performances. Even student mentors volunteered to play, as well as past graduates. The concert started off with Beethoven’s Ode to Joy played by full orchestra, while different sections of the orchestra played at different locations all around the hall so as to give the impression that the sound was coming from everywhere. The senior strings were honored to have guest conductor Donnie Deacon join in performing Richard Meyer’s Ghosts of Brandenburg. In honor of the graduating students, the concert featured a solo piece with three string graduates. The show ended with a magical performance of Karl Jenkins’ “Adiemus” sung by our KidSingers with accompaniment from the full orchestra, featuring a recorder solo.
2500 Musicians Played Side-by-Side, by Timor Sultani (Sweden)
El Sistema students from all over the world participated a big concert in Scandinavium Arena after four days of camping and practicing together. Side by Side by El Sistema Sweden is the largest summer camp in Sweden, occurring in Gothenburg in the middle of June every year. Last year 1800 musicians played in side by side, but in 2019 the number grew by 39 percent! Musicians from all over the world came together to play and have fun. All of the musicians were divided into different ensembles based on playing levels. The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra played with them in the finale concert. The camp had a lot of activities, such dancing, singing, and going to the park. Students made a lot of new friends from all over the world. Some musicians even surprised Swedish people with a flash mob in Nordstan, the big shopping center in middle of Gothenburg.
An Unprecedented “Us/We”, by Luara Baqueiro (Brazil)
On 15 June, the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra began its tour in Brazil. The first city visited was Salvador, home of the NEOJIBA program. NEOJIBA students attended the rehearsal and concert of BPYO. The next day we welcomed BPYO in Queimado Park to an afternoon of musical exchanges. After rehearsing Dvořák’s New World Symphony and Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, we all sat together, students and teachers of both programs, to talk to BPYO Director, Benjamin Zander. Students asked Mr. Zander questions about routines, the importance of the tour, favorite songs, and extended an invitation for him to return to NEOJIBA in the future. Through this experience, we embraced people that we have never met and were inspired by each other, creating a unique sound and memories that will never be forgotten. This meeting was an opportunity to strengthen ties and values. I hope that all groups have this experience at least once in their lives.