Last month, the 2020 World Ensemble Ambassadors launched their inaugural Online Musical Pen Pal Project, connecting some 25 musicians from five different programs. As of this writing, the pen pals have met twice and communicated with one another on alternate weeks. During larger group sessions, pen pals shared their respective cultures and took part in improvisation activities. Read about the project from Ambassadors Stephen Ongoma (Ghetto Classics) and Hannah Christensen (Sistema Utah).
Stephen on Week 1 (Introductions):
After putting our best feet forward as Ambassadors, we managed to organize our first pen pal meeting using the Zoom platform. It brought together participants from Ghetto Classics (Kenya), The Harmony Project (Los Angeles, USA), and NOFA (UK).
The energy that the pen pals possessed was exemplary. They managed to get to know each other and it was amazing how most of them shared common ideologies.
Hannah on Week 3 (Culture & Improv Activities):
It has been extremely fun getting to know other people from around the world and our group activities are so enjoyable! Last week, at our group meeting, we each brought an object that describes our culture. Learning more about their backgrounds helped me get to know the pen pals better. We then watched a video about the El Sistema movement and talked about how our programs are similar or different. Our final activity was an improvisation session, during which we traded off playing little melodies for everyone. It was so exciting to learn about and hear traditional instruments from Uganda. I left happy and excited about our next group meeting, when we will make more music with each other.