Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Cornell University Ensemble to visit Costa Rica

CU Students to donate instruments to young musicians

By Daniel Aloi

Children at a small rural music school in Costa Rica will receive like-new instruments and one-on-one lessons when the Cornell University Wind Ensemble (CU Winds) tours there in January.

Cornell student musicians have been collecting used instruments for the school and preparing music especially for the tour, including an arrangement of the Costa Rican national anthem.

Forty-four of the ensemble's undergraduate wind and percussion players will be traveling to Costa Rica, Jan. 12-20.

The nine-day concert and outreach tour is a collaboration between Cornell's music department and Costa Rica's North American Cultural Center, along with other organizations and individuals, and is supported in part by the Cornell Council for the Arts.

The ensemble is bringing more than 80 donated instruments -- including brass, woodwinds, percussion, violins and a cello -- to the Escuela de Musica in the small Pacific Coast town of Matapalo. The school's pupils, ranging in age from 7 to 20, have been sharing instruments, limiting the possibilities for true ensemble performance. After three days in Matapalo -- filled with music lessons, a combined concert, a beach outing and a community picnic -- the Cornell ensemble travels to San Jose, the country's capital, for a series of concerts. The Matapalo students also will follow the ensemble to San Jose.

Cynthia Johnston Turner, director of the wind ensembles, says the ultimate goal is to have the program endowed for future humanitarian and cultural exchange opportunities for Cornell in Costa Rica. She noted that she doesn't see this tour as outreach but rather "relationship-building."

(Text and picture property of Chronicle Online)

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