Poway World Music Students

Poway Students Encounter a World of Music

The San Diego Union Tribune, October 21, 2017

Persian master musician and CWM teaching artist Kourosh Taghavi is teaching at Highland Ranch Elementary School in Poway this fall. The class is part of the Center for World Music’s World Music in the Schools program, which has been reaching students in San Diego since 1999.

UT reporter Deborah Sullivan Brennan visited Highland Ranch and attended a third-grade class conducted by Kourosh. She was impressed with what she saw and heard:

This semester, students will learn classical Persian music, Brazilian Capoeira and Eastern and Western folk dances. In the Spring, they’ll study Zulu percussion, Zimbabwean songs, and Brazilian Samba. It’s a good mix for a campus where the students hail from all corners of the globe.

Kourosh Taghavi at Poway

Kouroush Taghavi teaches a song while playing the Persian setar. UT Photo by Don Boomer.

Reflecting on the diversity of languages and cultures represented at Highland Ranch, Mr. Taghavi said:

Music makes you a kinder person. I hope they become more gentle people, more understanding, and with open eyes, ready to experience the world that is before them. I think they will become more content when they know about each other.

The students seem to agree!

Read the full story at SanDiegoUnionTribune.com. A great tribute to having world music in our schools!

Claudia Lyra, Engaging Brazil’s Music, Movement, and Stories

Congratulations to Claudia Lyra, World Music in the Schools teaching artist, for earning a master’s degree in Dual Language Education from San Diego State University in 2017. Claudia has presented interactive assemblies and conducted artist-residencies for the CWM.

Claudia LyraClaudia Lyra is owner, artistic director, and teacher at BRaPA, Brazilian Portuguese and Arts, in San Diego, CA. Originally from São Paulo, Claudia grew up in the city of Londrina in southeastern Brazil. She has shared Brazilian culture in the United States since 2003.

Claudia’s teaching philosophy envisions fostering well-being and joyful learning through the arts. Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics, and music. While giving students awareness of the physical possibilities and limitations of the human body, it simultaneously serves as a vehicle for introducing them to the history and culture of Brazil. Capoeira, Brazilian traditional music, and storytelling are not just highly entertaining, Claudia believes, they are powerful tools for teaching. These art forms—regarded as cultural treasures by Brazilians—open young hearts and minds to the wonderful sounds, emotions, and values of the Brazilian culture through the appreciation and actual making of music.

With a bachelor’s degree in psychology in addition to her SDSU master’s degree, Claudia has developed arts integration programs in partnership with the San Diego Unified School District. More recently, she has worked within the Coronado Unified School District.

Claudia uses Brazilian cultural arts to help students develop critical thinking skills, plant seeds of self-worth and value, cultivate an appreciation of equality and promote important social skills to interact successfully with others.

Claudia Lyra with berimbauClaudia brings Brazilian cultural arts to audiences in schools and beyond, through her cultural assembly and residency programs called Nós de Chita. Nós de Chita offers cultural assemblies, live music performances and workshops focused on traditional Brazilian arts that incorporate key elements of the natural environment which promote awareness of climate change for students kindergarten through 4th grade.

Claudia penned a fascinating and informative article for the CWM on the Brazilian berimbau. Read the article and see her video demonstration here.  

 

 

 

Dr. Timothy Rice

Message from the CWM’s New President and CEO, Timothy Rice

Timothy RiceI am honored to have been elected the third president of the Center for World Music. Next year I will celebrate my fiftieth year as a student of world music. I entered the University of Washington as a graduate student in ethnomusicology in the fall of 1968. It’s hard to believe, but the Center for World Music, founded in 1963, has an even longer history in this area of study than I do. In fact, one of its first teachers, the distinguished bharatanatyam dancer Balasaraswati was my teacher of South Indian singing while I was a graduate student. During those early years, I very much admired the activism of Robert E. Brown, a real pioneer in the study of world music: he invented the phrase “world music” as an antidote to the ungainly word ethnomusicology. Both he and my Ph.D. supervisor, Robert Garfias, had studied together at UCLA. I never dreamed that I might someday follow in his footsteps.

His footsteps and my work with the CWM will take me down a somewhat different path than I have followed until now. My path has been one of academic research, publication, service to university and scholarly organizations, and the education of the next generations of world-music scholars. Robert E. Brown and the Center for World Music have followed a no-less-important path sometimes labeled “applied ethnomusicology.” Over the years the Center for World Music has developed important programs that serve a wider audience than academics usually do. The Center sponsors programs in four broad areas: (1) K-12 music education; (2) concerts for a general-interest audience; (3) engagement with and service to ethnic and other adult communities; and (4) adult study abroad summer programs.

Currently, the Center’s K-12 music education program is particularly strong. I can’t express the delight and pride I felt recently at a K-8 school as I listened to each grade play the Balinese gamelan, a wonderful gong orchestra from Indonesia. Watching their smiles as they performed and listening to the progress they made from grade to grade confirmed for me the importance of the community-service-oriented path of the CWM’s mission. I look forward during the next few years to strengthening and expanding the CWM’s activities in all four of its program areas.

If you would like to join me in that effort in any capacity—as a volunteer, an audience member, a student of a particular world music tradition, a donor—please contact Monica Emery, our Executive Director, and she will be happy to work with you on strengthening your contribution to the goals and mission of our more than half-century-old organization. If you would like to write me directly, please send an email to tim.rice@centerforworldmusic.org.

I am particularly grateful that Lewis Peterman, our past president, will remain on the Center’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee. I know all of us will benefit from his wise counsel and vast experience.

Best wishes, and thank you for your interest in the Center for World Music.

Tim

Timothy Rice, President, Center for World Music

Warm Welcome to Dr. Timothy Rice, President and CEO

The Center for World Music Board of Directors and staff are pleased to announce the election of Dr. Timothy Rice as our new president and CEO. Tim is just the third president in the CWM’s long history. As president, Dr. Rice follows founder Dr. Robert E. Brown (president 1965-2005) and his colleague Dr. Lewis Peterman (2006-2016), both San Diego State University meritorious professors emeriti of ethnomusicology.

Tim, UCLA Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Ethnomusicology, moved to San Diego four years ago. His election represents a continuation of the CWM’s tradition of having leading figures in the field of ethnomusicology and musicology as president. A specialist in the traditional music of the Balkans, especially from the Slavic-speaking nations of Bulgaria and Macedonia, he is the author of May It Fill Your Soul: Experiencing Bulgarian Music (University of Chicago Press, 1994) and Music in Bulgaria: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture (Oxford University Press, 2004). He also writes frequently about ethnomusicology as an academic field, including a book titled Ethnomusicology: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2014) and another called Modeling Ethnomusicology (Oxford University Press, 2017).

He was founding co-editor of the ten-volume Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, and he co-edited Volume 8, Europe. He has served the field of ethnomusicology as editor of its leading journal Ethnomusicology (1981-1984), as president of the Society for Ethnomusicology (2003-2005), and as a member of the Executive Board of the International Council for Traditional Music (2007-2013). He was associate dean of the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture from 2005 to 2008 and director of The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music from 2007 to 2013.

We invite you to read reflections on the work of the Center for World Music by Tim Rice, and a message from our immediate past president Lewis Peterman, both expressing their thoughts on this transitional moment in our history.

– Monica Emery, Executive Director

 

Lewis Peterman

Message from the CWM’s Past President, Lewis Peterman

Lewis Peterman

Lewis “Pete” Peterman

It has been my distinct honor to serve the Center for World Music as its president for the past 10 years. And now, as its immediate past president, I wish to extend a warm welcome to our new president Tim Rice. It is for me a great pleasure to pass the mantle and leave the leadership of the CWM’s growing programs into the very capable hands of such a distinguished and highly regarded ethnomusicologist.

During my term as president, the Center hosted numerous distinguished teaching artists from abroad: Africa (Guinea, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, & Zimbabwe), Europe (Finland, Ireland, & the Balkans), Asia (India & Indonesia), Latin America (Mexico & Peru), and the Caribbean (Trinidad & the Cayman Islands). In addition, the Center produced intensive two-week hands-on performing arts (traditional music, dance, and puppetry) workshops abroad in Asia (Bali & China), Africa (Ghana), and Latin America (Peru & Mexico). In addition, the Center provided rich opportunities for local teaching artists and local performing ensembles, provided financial and personal support for local universities and community colleges, developed innovative cultural tourism programs abroad for San Diegans (in Asia, Africa, and Latin America), received federal and state grants to support San Diego performing arts programs (for example, from the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council), and grew its unique World Music in the Schools program which promotes awareness, skills, and knowledge of the rich performing arts traditions of the world through weekly hands-on classes and periodic assemblies in K–12 San Diego schools.

At its “Flower Mountain” two-acre retreat in Bali during my presidency, the CWM hosted groups of students of the performing arts from UCLA, the California Institute of the Arts, Southern Methodist University, Gettysburg College, St. Mary’s College, Warren Wilson College, the National University of Singapore, and San Diego State University. Also participating in Center-sponsored events at Flower Mountain were a group of K-12 classroom teachers from Seattle, a group of Zimbabwean mbira players from New Zealand and Japan, and an undergraduate drama group from Hartwick College in upstate New York.

One year in particular, the Center sponsored 70+ concerts, reached 10,000 K-12 San Diego students through its World Music in the Schools program (with 30 teaching artists and 20 ensembles-in-residence), produced a 17-day Zimbabwe Music and Dance Celebration, produced a 2nd Annual San Diego Indonesian Gamelan Festival, produced and hosted a College Music Society world music workshop for American university music professors, organized a 10-city national Indian Odissi Dance tour, and continued offering its local workshops (son jarocho, Balinese gamelan, Odissi dance) and its study abroad workshops in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

As the past president and a continuing board member of the CWM, I look forward enthusiastically to providing continuing advice and assistance as the new leadership works to strengthen and expand the CWM’s programs, both in San Diego and abroad.

–Lewis Peterman, Past President, Center for World Music

Baptist Church Choir

World Music: African American Music, Generation to Generation

This is an experiential narrative contributed by Delores Fisher, a member of our Artistic Advisory Board.

Several years ago, I participated at a local San Diego elementary school in a collaborative art project taught by different teachers, each an expert in a specific field, each with previous collaborative teaching experience. Our main goal was to provide students with a critical thinking lens through which to study slavery in the United States; our tools were visual art, dance, and music. All during the project, a young boy followed me talking about how he was not from California; he was from the South. He spent a lot of time with his grandmother and he “loved music.”

The first module of my segment introduced basic African drum rhythms, use of a time line to hold the patterns together, basic body movements, and short vocal passages sung a cappella—in this case specifically without melodic support. Then I introduced altered clapping/foot stomping techniques used by slaves to provide the steady pulse in place of the time line when drums were banned.

Our next segment introduced slave songs, slow and fast in tempo. We noted that some of these songs did not have solid evidence as to origins and that many of the songs are still sung today by a variety of artists, in various arrangements.

One song we sang was “Swing Down Chariot Stop And Let Me Ride.”* It exists in at least three different versions. See all three versions here

I am not sure when or where I learned the up tempo version of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot Stop and let me Ride.” I only remember singing it since childhood. The lyrics I learned are a variation on the original. This is what I taught the students:

Swing down, chariot, stop and let me ride.
Swing down, chariot, stop and let me ride.
Swing down, chariot, stop and let me ride:
I’ve got a home on the other side.

We sang these words twice, then practiced the hand clap/foot stomp accompanying rhythm. We put it all together and sang it through twice. Before the third repetition, the little boy sitting next to me sang in a deeper voice, the secondary vocal part, before the chorus began again. I kept singing, keeping the others on track.

Why don’t you swing?
Swing down, chariot, stop and let me ride.
Oh, swing!
Swing down, chariot, stop and let me ride.
Come on and swing!
Swing down, chariot, stop and let me ride:
I’ve, . . .
I’ve got a home on the other side.

As the song ended, we all clapped. Hands went up. “Did you plan this? Did you practice together?” I looked at the class and said, “Hey, we did not plan this!”

The young man smiled and said, “I learned it from my grandmother.”

Historic African American musical traditions were and are still being passed on orally, without notation, from generation to generation–via Internet videos or face to face. I absorbed many songs listening to my mother in her shimmering soprano voice as she moved about the house doing daily activities while my dad was at work. At times when he felt like it, my dad, who had sang in a group as a young man, would sing at home in a soft tenor voice. These memories still make me smile.

Many Afro-classical arrangers of slave songs also learned the original tune pre-transcribed from the voice of an elder. Children continue to listen to grandparents, parents, and other relatives singing in religious settings, recreational settings like picnics, domestic settings doing housework–cooking, mopping floors, vacuuming–and also at quiet time or nap time with the singing of lullabies. Oral transmission is woven into the fabric of Black cultural memories.

– Delores Fisher, MA, is a blogger, essayist, musician, poet, and lecturer in the Department of Africana Studies at San Diego State University. Professor Fisher serves as a member of the Center for World Music’s Artistic Advisory Board, with a specialty in African American sacred music 

*“Swing Down Chariot Stop And Let Me Ride” has been recorded in part or full by sacred and secular groups, soloists, and even international ensembles. A few Internet video/accessible examples: The Fisk Jubilee Singers, Elvis Presley,  The Golden Gate Quartet, The Imperials, The Gaithers, Dorothy Love Coates and The Gospel Harmonettes, The Soweto Gospel Choir, Rufus and Chaka Khan, Parliament/Funkadelics, and Dr. Dre used a line from the spiritual it in the “Chronic.”

Folk Dance Center Event

San Diego Folk Dance Center

The Center for World Music would like to alert our audience to the programs of the Folk Dance Center, a San Diego institution with which we’ve had a long relationship. In more cases than not, traditional music and dance forms are inseparable. The missions of our two organizations thus overlap to a great extent. We encourage you to check out their website, especially their monthly newsletters.

We will be promoting special programs of the Folk Dance Center via our Facebook page and other social media. We invite you to stop by their studio on 30th Street for one of their frequent folk dance sessions. Also, be alert for their many fine events and classes! See their current newsletter for details.

The Folk Dance Center (FDC) is a non-profit organization of amateur dancers with a common interest in folk dances from around the world. The FDC seeks to increase understanding of world folk dance and to preserve this rich resource for future generations. Membership is open to all.

Folk Dance Center Logo
Folk Dance Center
Dancing Unlimited
4569 30th Street
San Diego, CA 92116
Message phone: 619-281-5656
www.folkdancecenter.org

 

Lewis Peterman in Bali

Professor Lewis Peterman, Longtime Contributor

The Center for World Music owes much to Prof. Lewis Peterman. He was a personal friend of the distinguished ethnomusicologist and CWM founder, Robert Brown. He has been a champion for the CWM for years and the driving force behind some of the most fruitful years of the organization, to date. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Although he has retired from the leadership position of president, he still provides valuable advice and support. He is a CWM hero. He is an important reason children in the San Diego area are singing the stories and playing the music of cultures and traditions that reflect the heartbeat of humanity.

Meet our third and final hero, longtime contributor and donor of time, talent, and treasure, Lewis Peterman.

(1) You have served as an unusually active member of the Center’s Board of Directors for over 30 years. What’s motivated you to be so involved?

I have done so because I believe the Center is a very special organization—one that dares to dream of a harmonious world nurtured through interpersonal cooperation. Born during the 1960s, the inspiration for the creation of the Center by its founders, Samuel Scripps and Robert E. Brown, was the American counter-culture slogan “make love, not war,” which could also be restated as “make music, not noise.” Just as “love” is an innate human universal found in all cultures around the world, so is “music”— both in fact are associated with the best and most noble qualities of human nature (understanding, sharing, caring, intimacy, kindness, happiness, selflessness, value, meaning, healing). Indeed, it’s hard to hate others when dancing to their music. Ultimately, the Center fully recognizes the timeless wisdom of the old proverb, “to understand a man, you’ve got to walk a mile in his shoes, whether they fit or not.”

I have also devoted 30 years of my personal and professional life to the Center because I believe in what it does: namely, it enriches the human experience across the globe by fostering understanding through intercultural sharing via the performing arts, most especially through music. Diversity, quality, and programming—these form the nucleus of what the Center does. For the Center, “diversity” means ALL people on planet earth. Thus the Center strives to bring together people from disparate cultural backgrounds through artistic enlightenment and heightened mutual appreciation. For the Center, “quality” means valuing those special human beings who have attained the highest-level accomplishments in their fields of expertise. Consequently, the Center strives to develop and maintain a deeply devoted and unusually active Board of Directors, a distinguished Artistic Advisory Board, and a cadre of distinguished native and/or native-trained teaching artists. For the Center, “programming” always features both diversity and quality, whether through its in-depth workshop encounters abroad or through its educational school and public events here in America.

Over the past 30 years, I have gained a deep personal appreciation for the 50-year-old dream of the Center by serving in many leadership capacities: executive director, director of programs abroad, director of development, universities liaison, teaching artist, secretary, vice president, president, and now as the immediate past president.

(2) You have served as president the past 10 years. What have been some of the most exciting things the Center has done during this period?

Under my leadership as president, the Center has hosted numerous distinguished teaching artists from aboard: Africa (Guinea, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, & Zimbabwe), Europe (Finland, Ireland, & the Balkans), Asia (India & Indonesia), Latin America (Mexico & Peru), and the Caribbean (Trinidad & the Cayman Islands). In addition, the Center has produced intensive two-week hands-on performing arts (traditional music, dance, and puppetry) workshops abroad in Asia (Bali & China), Africa (Ghana), and Latin America (Peru & Mexico).

At its “Flower Mountain” two-acre retreat in Bali, the CWM has hosted groups of students of the performing arts from UCLA, the California Institute of the Arts, Southern Methodist University, Gettysburg College, St. Mary’s College, Warren Wilson College, the National University of Singapore, and San Diego State University. Also participating in Center-sponsored events at Flower Mountain were a group of K-12 classroom teachers from the CWM’s World Music in the Schools program in San Diego, a group of K-12 classroom teachers from Seattle, a group of Zimbabwean mbira players from New Zealand and Japan, and an undergraduate drama group from Hartwick College in upstate New York.

One year in particular (2012), the Center sponsored 70+ concerts, reached 10,000 K-12 San Diego students through its World Music in the Schools program (with 30 teaching artists and 20 ensembles-in-residence), produced a 17-day Zimbabwe Music and Dance Celebration, produced the 2nd Annual San Diego Indonesian Gamelan Festival, produced and hosted a College Music Society world music workshop for American university music professors, organized a 10-city national Indian Odissi Dance tour, and continued offering its local workshops (son jarocho, Balinese gamelan, Odissi dance) and its study abroad workshops in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

(3) In what ways have you seen the Center contribute to San Diego?

Since its move from the Bay Area in 1980, the Center has contributed immensely to the enrichment of the cultural and educational life in San Diego in many ways. The Center implements its dream of harmonious interpersonal cooperation and of the development of the best and most noble qualities of human nature by fostering understanding through intercultural sharing in San Diego via the world’s performing arts. To most deeply enrich the arts environment in San Diego via extended residencies, the Center has hosted many master teaching artists and ensembles of traditional performing arts from abroad: from India, Bali, Java, Sumatra, Iran, the Philippines, China, Japan, Korea, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Spain, Finland, Ireland, and the Balkans. In addition, the Center has provided rich opportunities for local teaching artists and local performing ensembles, has provided support for local universities and community colleges, has developed innovative cultural tourism programs abroad for San Diegans (in Asia, Africa, and Latin America), has received federal and state grants to support San Diego performing arts programs (i.e., the National Endowment for the Arts & the California Arts Council), and has developed a unique World Music in the Schools program which promotes awareness, skills, and knowledge of the rich performing arts traditions of the world through weekly hands-on classes and periodic assemblies in K–12 San Diego schools.

Thank you, Lewis Peterman.

Join Prof. Lewis Peterman and support programs for San Diego children in most danger of losing their access to cross-cultural music education.

Kirit Srivastava

Kirti Srivastava, Former Odissi Student and Principal of Hawking STEAM Charter Elementary

Kirti Srivastava reflects the power of the arts and the influence and responsibility of an educator. The balance she has struck between her professional career and her deep, life-long passion for world music and dance serves as a model for those working in either field. As a champion of the arts, she makes a meaningful impact in the lives of the children with whom she works. She is our hero. She is an important reason children in the San Diego area are singing the stories and playing the music of cultures and traditions that reflect the heartbeat of humanity.

Meet our second of three heroes, former Odissi dance students, principal of Hawking STEAM Charter Elementary, world music advocate and artist, Kirti Srivastava.

(1)   What is your connection to world music?
As a first generation American, born to two artists from India (my father a visual artist and singer and my mother a dancer, actress and sitar player), world music and dance runs through my veins! My parents held weekly sangeets (musical gatherings) and satsangs (gatherings for spiritual discussion) long before my birth — so it was just a way of life for me.

I have fond memories of learning about different forms of music. I still recall my first introduction to jazz. I was in the 6th grade when my older brother Vikas handed a mix tape to me with John Coltrane on Side A and Miles Davis on Side B. He said: “This is all you need to know.”

As an Odissi dance student with the Center for World Music in high school, I was able to attend classical Indian house concerts at Purna and Gopa Patnaik’s house. I also attend concerts at Pt. Sri Ravi Shankar’s house! I still cannot attend a concert and feel as fully satisfied as I did those days, sitting just feet away from world-renowned musicians.

(2)   What exciting musical things go on at your school and with your students?
Music is life at Hawking STEAM Charter; we integrate song and dance into every learning opportunity possible – whether the kindergarteners are singing about ecosystems and habitats or the 6th graders are rehearsing a rap of character traits. Our goal is to help adults and children realize that music is the rhythm of life, and just as we seek to find melody in music, we learn to find harmony in life. While teachers integrate music throughout the day, we also have dedicated music programming during school hours. Half of the week, students are learning to play piano through online keyboarding software that connects to their piano keyboards. This teaches them the fundamental knowledge of music and notes. The other half of the week, students study tabla, a classical Indian drum. This class allows them to take what they have learned from piano and apply it to drumming. They also learn how the hand is able to make various notes on the drum. Both courses help students fine tune their mathematical skills while exercising creativity through the making of their own musical pieces.

(3)   How do you see world music programs impact your students?
While music, in general, has given our artistic students a voice in the academic arena, world music opens doors to learning opportunities in the study of geography and world cultures. It also helps students develop respect and empathy for people from cultures worldwide. The Center for World Music often brings guest artists to the school. The professional musicians share their gifts with the students and demonstrate how musicians are able to support themselves through their art form.

(4)   In what ways do you feel the Center contributes to San Diego?
The Center for World Music’s programs in schools not only nurture the future generations to understand and honor the role of music in cultures around the world, but they also bring awareness to the cultural and academic benefits of integrating music in schools. I witness students facing the challenges of learning to play instruments. In their music classes, student grapple to understand musical concepts and concentrate for extended amounts of time to play the right notes. I see the very same attitude carry over in their academic courses. Similarly, students’ performances build the grit for public presentations that we promote in our Project Based Learning teaching model.  By working with the school system, the CWM contributes to the larger San Diego community because students are continuously applying strategies learned through music to their daily lives.

(5)   What more can the CWM do to contribute to the student experience at Hawking Charter School and schools across San Diego County?
We would love to bring more monthly assemblies featuring artists/dancers/musicians from around the world. Ideally, we would like a package that will help schools like Hawking Charter afford and access more assemblies if they commit to a robust yearlong schedule.

Thank you, Kirti Srivastava.

Please join Kirti Srivastava and support programs for San Diego children in most danger of losing their access to cross-cultural music education.

Vanya Russell and friend from the Karen Organization of San Diego

Vanya Russell, Volunteer and Donor

Vanya Russell has been volunteering with the CWM for only two years but has made a notable impact. Her heartfelt financial contributions, endless volunteer energy, and catching enthusiasm has made a significantly impact the on the teaching artists, staff, board members, and audience members who have had the pleasure to meet her. She served as a culture bearer of Bulgaria enriching the experience of over 60 students at the San Diego French-American School. Finally, her donations helped us bring world musicians and dancers into classrooms across San Diego County, impacting over 4,500 children in the 2016-17 year.

She is our hero. She is an important reason children in the San Diego area are singing the stories and playing the music of cultures and traditions that reflect the heartbeat of humanity.

Meet the first of our three Center for World Music heroes: an all-star volunteer and generous donor, Vanya Russell!

Hi Vanya, can you tell us where you are from?
I am from Sofia, Bulgaria. I came to the U.S. in 1985 and moved to San Diego 1992.

As a volunteer, what have been some of the most memorable Center events you’ve participated in?
In Spring of 2016, I visited two classes at the San Diego French-American School, where Marie Hayes was teaching Bulgarian folk song. I was amazed at the dedication of the students to learn this difficult material. Marie Hayes did a very good job. At the end of the school year, I went to their concert and was touched to tears!

I have [also] volunteered at six CWM concerts at the Kalabash School of Music and Art. I am very impressed how well these concerts were organized, and how well they were attended, in addition to the diversity and quality of the presenters.

What was the most recent event you volunteered for? What did you think?
The “Music of Burma” event. For me, it was very touching, very special to interact with the young refugees. [You can see Vanya in the picture above posing with a dancer from this performance.]

When did you first encounter the Center for World Music (CWM)?
I learned about the CWM from a friend of mine who is a former volunteer for the Downtown Information Center. He met Monica, learned about the CWM, and suggested I get involved in volunteering. Monica and I met in fall 2015.

How do you see the Center contributing to San Diego communities?
For a small organization, the Center for World Music has spread its wing all over San Diego. Remarkable!

Thank you, Vanya Russell.

Join Vanya Russell and support programs for San Diego children in most danger of losing their access to cross-cultural music education.