The From the Heart International Education Foundation (FTH) of Nashville, in collaboration with the Blues Kids Foundation of Chicago, will host a group of 44 music students from two small towns in Colombia, South America, from June 26 through July 9 in Nashville for Armonías, an international music and culture exchange.
The music students, ages 10 to 14, from Mompox and Santa Rosa in the department of Bolívar, Colombia, will join Nashville students from the FTH music program for multiple performances and will also collaborate on and record a CD. See below for a detailed calendar of activities, including performances July 6 at Salsa restaurant and July 8 at Rocketown.
“The Colombian students are excited about traveling to the United States and have been diligent in learning American popular music such as ‘Hit the Road Jack’ by Ray Charles,” Kerry Frazier, director of FTH, said.
Several dignitaries will be joining the students from Colombia, including Governor of Bolívar Dumek Turbay Paz, Mayor of Mompox Nubia Quevedo, and the director of ICultur, the Institute of Culture and Tourism of Bolívar, Carmen Espinoza Diaz Lucy.
During the Colombian students’ time in the U.S., Nashville Mayor Megan Barry and Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, will host receptions for the visiting dignitaries in their respective cities. The exchange also includes a return invitation for the American students, who will visit Mompox during its annual Jazz Festival in October.
On July 10, the students will travel to Chicago to participate in the annual weeklong Chicago Blues Kids Camp on the campus of Columbia College. Each summer, Fernando Jones’ Blues Camp is held in a different part of the United States or Europe.
The directors of both programs – Jones and Frazier – worked together last summer in Nashville and Chicago and made plans to develop the international partnership in 2016. The young Colombian students have been studying under the leadership of Frazier, a music professor at Tennessee State University, through a visiting professor exchange program for several months.
“This year, we are truly honored to expand our global reach to Colombia, South America, through a partnership with the U.S. Embassy, the government of Bolívar and the city of Mompox,” Jones said.
A group of Tennessee State University students have performed at the Mompox Jazz Festival in the past. It was during this time that Frazier led a workshop there to teach middle school band students American music techniques. This connection helped make Armonías a reality.
Armonías, “harmonies” in Spanish, has been made possible through sponsors Marcela Gómez Productions, the Tennessee Latin American Chamber of Commerce, Tennessee State University, ICultur, the Gobernación de Bolívar, and MP&F Public Relations.
About the From the Heart International Education Foundation:
The From the Heart International Education Foundation (FTH) mission is to provide academic, arts and sports programming after school and during the summer for youth in vulnerable communities while enhancing holistic self-awareness, creativity and academic achievement.
About the Blues Kids Foundation:
The Blues Kids Foundation was established to preserve, perform and promote the blues among America’s youth, parents and educators under the tutelage of highly qualified instructors. Our focus includes social and emotional learning, music literacy, pedagogy and andragogy, and music as a second language.