Saturday, July 4, 2009

Al-Kamandjati Summer Camp 2009, al-Fara'a, the West Bank (part 2)

The al-Kamandjati Summer Music Days camp came to a close a few days ago. As the camp went on we got a chance to see more and more of the students performing, which was wonderful.

I had a chance to interview Peter Sulski, the artistic director of the summer camp. Sulski started coming to the Middle East with the Apple Hill Chamber Players in 1996 and became Ramzi Aburedwan's teacher and friend. "It's been an incredible ride," he says about the experience.

"I think the summer camp is an incredible social opportunity to be around each other and to have lots of role models even for five full days.. to experience a real bump up in their growth. It's a chance for them to feel really legitimate in the field of music. As a student even in america you can feel outside the culture of music."

The first picture here is one of the students performing Dowland's "Flow my Teares".

One of the popular workshops was the oriental percussion workshop, which had 10-15 children performing on native Arab drums.

Ramzi Aburedwan, the founder of al-Kamandjati, plays oud and drums in addition to the viola; here is him performing for the children.

Robert "Dobbs" Hartshone has been coming to the West Bank for the last twenty years giving performances for children here, as he does around the world in other places like Afghanistan. He performed a Bach cello suite and a narrated piece in Arabic about a beaver that falls in love with a tree. The kids loved it.

The final concert was very long and had performances by nearly every child. The orchestra performed a arrangement of the slow movement from Beethoven's 7th Symphony.

The last piece was a song from Pink Floyd's album "The Wall."

The experience was very educational for the teachers as well. Drew Balch, a native of London and the viola teacher, talked about his experiences with the people here. "It's the one thing you can't really be told in stories in the media. Now I've met these people face to face, heard their stories and I've become involved in their stories now, and it's just so much more real."

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