054-blog-2014-11-01Two weeks ago I was forwarded an email announcing a demonstration in Jocotenago by Sistema de Orquestas de Guatemala (SOG), a children’s orchestra group from the city. I have dreamed of a music program in El Hato, but they are complicated and pricey. Our arts program is volunteer run, so we stick to projects and workshops that can be presented or taught in short time frames.

The presentation was on a Friday, the same day and time as my children’s last day of school and big show, and I was leaving Saturday for the States. I asked Alejandra to go and ask if there was any way we could get the students in El Hato involved. Then I called my one contact with the program more than once trying to get her my urgent message that we would do what it takes to get our students to Jocotenango if they were invited and interested.

I had the opportunity to attend high school at the Baltimore School for the Arts, and for me it was life changing in a good way. I know it would be for some of our students as well if they were given the opportunity.

061-blog-2014-11-01Yesterday I finally spoke to the SOG Director who said they could come today at 10am. We quickly invited everyone we saw. The Jeremiah Project from neighboring Guardiana joined us with their vacation camp kids for the demonstration and the kids seemed to thoroughly enjoy the concert. Unfortunately, only two mothers attended, and of course the kids can’t be part of the free music camp without parent buy in. It’s a tough sell. Long hours, lots of practice, and classes are two towns away. None of the children had ever heard of an orchestra, and that’s probably true for most parents.

Were the kids intrigued enough to ask their parents if they could participate? Will those parents be convinced enough to visit school next week to register their kids? It’s common for parents to register their kids for school well after the first days of school. Pre-registration is just not a popular concept. If the kids do attend, will they be committed enough to show up each day? Attendance is already an issue during the regular school year.

If enough children register for this one month free music camp, the group will pilot a free after school choral and orchestra program in Antigua in 2015. I’m praying that this rare opportunity won’t be passed by.

-Salina

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