Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Music Camp at Layla House

This blog post and accompanying photos come to us courtesy of Julie Hehn, Director of Layla House School
There were some exciting happenings at Layla School this summer. For two weeks schedules were changed, guest presenters were a plenty and the compound was full of a variety of different musical sounds. Music camp took over Layla School!

It was rainy season, our summer time, but not so in Addis Ababa. This is a time when cold comes, inside activities replace soccer, running outside only happens after the downpours, until the next one occurs. With the every other day of “on and off” electricity, it makes for a pretty boring time for the 100 plus population of students.

One Monday morning the children gathered in the dining room to learn all about their new schedule for the next two weeks. Each morning and again at the end of their day they met to learn new songs and celebrate with music. There were scheduled times throughout each day for groups to meet with the music teacher and do special activities. Each group continued to have English and Math and some of their regular academic classes but many of the classes were replaced with special music classes and presentations.

We had guest speakers from around the community sharing their music and knowledge throughout our camp time. There were a number of local musicians who talked with the children about music history and their own study of music. We even had a number of dancers share their talents with the school. Rasta Mikey, who is an American university graduate in dance and lives and teaches dance in Ethiopia, came with an assistant to present. He was dynamic in his approach and the students were mesmerized. He demonstrated some Goragy Tribal dancing and then showed its connection to Hip Hop dancing. He brought out a number of the students to learn some steps and the dining room was energized with his music and moves!

Another day we had the honor of having the group “Celebration” from Atlanta, Georgia come in and perform for us. They were headliners for the Sheraton and took time out of their busy schedule to come and sing. It was a magical time at Layla. The dining room was packed with children and adults alike. During their performance, staff from around the compound were stopping by and peering in the windows to see our famous guests. At one point the group began to sing “Amazing Grace”. To their surprise the students all joined in. The looks on their faces, hearing our children singing to them, were touching. The gifts our children gave back to these guests were certainly tenfold. It was evident by their tears.

We ended our camp with a presentation of songs that we learned during camp, some wonderful solos from students, and from this teacher’s view a stronger understanding of music and the importance of it in our daily life. I have a few favorites of the week such as the “Deep in the Jungle” song that the entire student body performed with homemade musical instruments and puppets and the “Act Naturally” song with the teaching staff line dancing during the instrumental part - Cowboy hats and all! I can honestly say that teachers and students alike had an amazing time! The dining room was full of songs and laughter and we teachers are all looking forward to next year’s camp with a new group of students, as these beautiful ones will be in their homes in America with you all soon!

1 comment:

  1. LOVE it! Look at Ivy getting her Ethiopian Groove on, what great pics and what a wonderful time for the kids!
    Thank you for sharing.