Sounds of Palestine 2014
Short introduction to the work and the goals of Sounds of Palestine, a community music project for the children of Aida and al-Azzeh refugee camps.
First prize for Retaj and Mustafa
Our cello students Retaj Zboun from al-Azzeh refugee camp and Mustafa al-Kurd from Aida refugee camp won the first prize in the 6th Magnificat String Competition in Jerusalem. Listen to Retaj playing during the competition.
Sounds of Palestine
Impressions of the summer camp 2014 and Information about the work of Sounds of Palestine, a community music project for the children of Aida and al-Azzeh refugee camps.
This week, all children of Sounds of Palestine will perform in the End of the Year Concert. They have been preparing their orchestra pieces and practiced very hard. But preparing also means taking time to relax: the children worked in our garden, planted new tomato plants and played many different games with our social workers. Enjoy the pictures!
The children of Sounds of Palestine have exams in school this month, so our social workers help the children to study together and prepare for their exams. Some relaxation and sport activities in our garden, as well as our dabke (folklore dancing) lessons, help the children to concentrate on their studies. At the same time, we continue our regular music lessons and orchestra rehearsals to prepare for the end of the year concert. We are proud of all our hard working students!
One of our favorite orchestra games is 'Police and Criminal': One child is the police and waits outside of the orchestra room. Another child is the criminal and makes a 'musical crime'. For example, the musical crime is to play a wrong note, to hold the instrument wrong, or the change instruments with another child. After the police returns to the orchestra room, he or she needs to find out who is the criminal and what the crime is!
Spring arrived in Palestine and the children enjoy playing in our garden while they are waiting for their music lessons. After one afternoon of orchestra, instrument lessons, music theory and choir, we took the children to a theater show organized by Singer Cafe. When we walked back afterwards one of the young boys asked his music teacher: "Miss, will we continue to play music now?"
Today is Mother's Day in the Middle East.
كل عام وانتو بالف خير!
The children played music for their mothers, gave them a flower and expressed one by one why they love their mom. The last piece of the performance was 'Eidek ya mama', and the piece 'School is Out!' was conducted by one of the mothers! After the concert there was time to talk together, while enjoying delicious home made snacks. Congratulations to all the wonderful children, teachers and social workers for such a beautiful concert!
Weather has changed, and it's time to plant seeds: not only in our garden, but also musical seeds in our students! In a couple of weeks, the children can bring home the lettuce, cauliflower, mint and cabbage they planted. While gardening, the children hear their friends playing music in the music lessons, dancing dabke, studying music theory and singing in the choir. During orchestra time, the children not only study their pieces, they also practice conducting the orchestra, developing their leadership skills.
After creating their own instruments from carton, foam and buckets, our new first graders learned all about their instrument, how to hold the instrument, how to sit or stand, and how to breath. They sang songs about their instrument and played musical games while learning about the sound of their instrument. Next week they will play on the real instruments for the first time. Our 2nd and 3rd graders started their lessons as well, and after the success during the Summer School, we decided to continue offering these two new activities: dabke (Palestinian Folklore dancing) and playing with Lego, donated by our dear supporter Marijke. Thank you Akram for making the pictures!
This academic year Sounds of Palestine will continue the music lessons in the kindergartens in Aida and al-Azzeh refugee camp. The 55 children in the after school program continue with us as well. In addition to them, we welcome the 40 new first-graders who joined us last week in a fun morning of choosing and decorating an instrument. Welcome to our youngest violinists, cellists, clarinetists, percussionists and double bass players!
Enjoy the pictures of the last days from Sounds of Palestine Summer Music School: final rehearsal day in Aida Youth Center, a performance with choir, dabke (folklore dance) and orchestra for the parents, and a relaxing day in the swimming pool!
The temperature reached 40 degrees today, but our little heros from Aida and al-Azzeh refugee camp came nevertheless to our summer school. 14 days of playing the violin, tablah, cello, double bass and clarinet, playing in the orchestra, singing in the traditional choir, dancing dabke (Palestinian folklore), learning music theory and crafting art in classrooms without airconditioning. Even a broken arm didn't kept one of the boys to play the cello for more than an hour a day. We are proud of our children and the music teachers, social workers and volunteers. Enjoy the pictures of the first two days of the music camp!
We look back at a succesful year in the kindergartens in Aida and al-Azzeh refugee camp: Bara'em al-Mustaqbal, Amal al-Mustaqbal, and al-Awdah. We are excited to welcome new first-graders who graduated from their kindergartens in the coming school year in our afternoon intrument program!
Today more than 60 children age 6-8 performed in our end of the year concert! It was a long day: at 9.30 the children gathered in Aida refugee camp, from where they travelled to the Peace Center in Bethlehem. They practiced their pieces on stage, ate delicious 'waraq dawali' made by women of the camp and visited the Nativity Church. Then, they were ready to perform. We are proud of all the children from al-Azzeh and Aida refugee camp for making beautiful music! And a big thank you for all the mothers and fathers who came to the concert.
On Friday our second graders performed for the wonderful people of Tree of Life. Some of them even joined the young children during the concert, playing the violin, flute and Indian drum. But before the performance started, tears were running down the cheeks of the children. Not because they were sad...but because of the tear gas that was shot at the Aida Youth Center where the concert was held. Nevertheless, the smell of tear gas and sewage did not stop the Sounds of Palestine children of giving a wonderful performance! Thank you Jiries and all the people from Tree of Life for this special visit!
On the 1st of March, the 1st and 2nd graders from our after school program performed in the Aida Youth Center for their families. We are so proud of the children! Congratulations for all the children, teachers and Sounds of Palestine staff! And a big thanks for all the mothers, grandmothers, fathers, brothers and sisters who came to listen. These beautiful pictures were made by our friend Sara.
For six weeks we were privileged to have volunteer violin trainer Kristin joining the team. The day she left Palestine back home to Iceland, we experienced heavy rainfall, the first time since the long hot summer. The day of her departure was a sad day but at the same time full of new opportunities: like the rain lets crops grow on the land, Kristin let our team grow!