City Day Camps 2016-2017
Music Camp International goes into many cities throughout both Romania and Ukraine to work with all children regardless of social status or musical background. The City Day Camp has been our signature project since our beginning in 2002. We usually partner with the Ministry of Education and distribute invitations in the pubic schools, orphanages, children’s centers, and anywhere that services children ages 11-15.
In Romania we have worked in Bucharest, Arad, Brasov, Cluj, Sibiu, Iasi, Fagaraș, and Bistrita. In Ukraine we have worked in Kyiv, Chernivtsi, Cherkassy, Brovary, Bucha, Vasylkyiv, Zaporozhzhye, Lviv, Stryy, Irpin, Voznesensk, Vyshgarod, Zhytomyr, Chervonograd, and Vinnitsa.
City Day Camps usually run between 250-500 children. Typically the camps run for 6 days, with the concert held on the sixth day. Members of the local philharmonic orchestras accompany the children.
August 2017 Zhytomyr, UkraineA new concept brought new opportunities for many children in Zhytomyr, Ukraine. Our first Inclusion Camp in Ukraine brought children with visual impairment and Down syndrome to participate in Music Camp with 150 “traditional learners.” This new concept is “radical” in Ukraine, where special needs children have been isolated and ostracized for generations. Many have spent their entire life in one room.
This idea is still so new that it caught the attention of Ukraine’s First Lady, Marina Poroshenko, who not only attended the concert, but invited Connie Fortunato, founder and president, to a private coffee. This is where Connie met Vadim, a young man with Down syndrome, who at the age of 18, had never participated in an interactive situation with “normal” learners. Yet Vadim participated with so much enthusiasm and joy, at the performance his smile caught the attention of so many that “couldn’t believe what they were seeing.” It was just the first of many miracles to come.
Even if you don’t understand Ukrainian—you will love to see the children in the video clip.
July 2017 Fagaraș, RomaniaMusic Camp returned for its second year to the small city of Fagaraș, Romania. Diana, the Executive Director of the Casa de Cultura (“House of Culture”) was our sponsoring partner. Her team organized everything so that 222 children—many from the surrounding countryside could experience Music Camp. These children seldom, if ever, have an opportunity like Music Camp to inspire them, and give them the opportunity to meet and work together with many new children—some from remote villages with very small schools. Very few have the opportunity to participate in learning instruments and being in a choir. The team brought so much excitement and fulfillment to the children.
June 2017 Pata Rât Community, RomaniaImmediately after school was out for the year, we held our 3rd Music Camp for the Roma children of the Pata Rât community. This Music Camp provided the opportunity for 80 marginalized children to discover and begin to develop their inner talent. The Camp is also a living laboratory of social relationships where the children learn to work together in peace, rather than fighting and violence. They learn self-discipline, develop the ability to focus, set high goals and work together to achieve them. Many of these children will enroll in our PLUS program in future years, giving them the help they need to be able to function at grade level and succeed in school.
June 2017 Vasylkyiv, UkraineOur first camp in this city was enthusiastically received by city officials, parents, teachers, and the community foundations. 175 children were able to attend camp for the first time and discover talents they never knew they had. We are thrilled to have been invited back to Vasylkiv next year!
May 2017 Vinnytsia, UkraineThis was our second year to host a Music Camp in this city. 180 children returned from last year’s camp, and were thrilled to have us back! Our partners from Community Foundation recruited an extraordinary team of volunteers to help in all aspects of the camp. We were so thankful for their help and look forward to returning next year!
April 2017 Easter with the Masters, RomaniaThe Easter Festival in Romania continues to build a national reputation of the finest choral music of the Easter season by the great masters, Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, and Handel. Many of the participants, are Music Camp graduates and are also in training to become young assistants and future teachers.All 75 participants were either current Music Campers or graduates.
March 2017 Cluj-Napoca, RomaniaOur inclusion camp in Cluj-Napoca, Romania is making history because we are integrating special needs and marginalized children with traditional learners. We had 19 students from the School for the Blind, 50 students from the School for the Deaf, 31 students from our daily after-school PLUS program, and another 20 from two other middle schools in the City.The teaching team was incredible–they used so many creative teaching techniques to circumvent disabilities and instead focus on abilities and talents. It was amazing to see them (even though some of them couldn’t see us), and hear them (though some could not hear) and watch them be transformed through the power of music.
The week following the inclusion camp, The Lee Trio, a world-class violin, cello, and piano trio were international guests of the Conservatory in Cluj. They presented a benefit concert for Music Camp International’s newest division, PLUS, in which the children from the Inclusion Camp had the opportunity to perform three selections with this group. What an honor!
January 2017 Chervonograd, UkraineOur special Christmas Camp was held in Chervonograd this year. This is primarily a coal-mining city where the children have very little opportunity. This camp brought an exciting opportunity for 175 children to learn instruments and international choral music of the Christmas season. They sang music they had never before heard, but memorized and performed it with excitement. Every seat for the final performance in the civic auditorium was filled. Parents cried, dignitaries sat in disbelief–“how is this possible in just 5 days?” It proves again and again that children are powerful communicators and when done with excellence–music can change their world!
September 2016 Iasi Romania
This year was our 8th City Day Music Camp in Iași. 150 children joined us to learn music, some for the first time. They put on a great performance at the end of the week, including music from Handel to Disney! Here is a video of the whole concert on Facebook.
August 2016 Pata Rât Community, Cluj, RomaniaThis was our 3rd time hosting a camp in this community on the outskirts of Cluj-Napoca. These children here have little or no hope of ever leaving their poverty stricken life. The local newspaper refers to this community as “an abyss from which very few ever escape.” Yet we have students who attended the last two years, and this year took the lead. They have been inspired to enroll and stay in school. They are now literate. They are now clean. They now have goals. You can see hope in their eyes for the first time. This is why we go to the Pata Rât Community – to bring hope and dignity and self-confidence; to let them know that they are loved and they are talented. It is beautiful to watch the transformation of these young lives.
August 2016 Kiev, Ukraine
We were joyfully anticipating having our Music Camp children sing in the 25th Anniversary Independence Day Celebration, only to find out a few days before that we had been eliminated from the program. Our disappointment was tangible, but we had to move forward and find a new concert location for our Music Campers to perform. Within 24 hours, we created a concert in Marinsky Park in the Center of Kiev. We are very thankful for the help from Volunteers Help, a charitable organization. This week the children learned to take responsibility, to care for one another, and to be flexible when plans change.
August 2016 Svyatogorsk, Ukraine
Many of the children at this camp are IDP’s (Internally Displaced Persons). It was incredible to see their transformation right in front of our eyes during the 6 days of camp! – We saw hope reborn in their eyes and the ‘magic’ of being inspired to set high goals and work hard to achieve them. What they are learning changes their life, their family, their community and ultimately their country.
At the concert, our first number was conducted by Katya, a young woman who attended the first Music Camp in Ukraine back in 2003. It was at our music camp that she was inspired to become a conductor and now, 13 years later, she is in her final year of the Glier Music Institute with a major in Conducting! Like so many other children who have attended our Music Camps, Katya learned to set high goals and achieve them. We are very proud of her and of all the children we teach
July 2016 Fagaras, Romania222 children learned 6 songs in 5 days in 4 languages and performed 2 concerts! What an exciting and busy week full of encouragement, love and learning for these children. This is a rural community, which meant that many of these children have never had an opportunity like Music Camp before. Children who had previously been designated as “problems” in school, children who had been victims of social prejudice and economic deprivation–all worked together, discovering that music could penetrate the deepest places of their being and bring healing, hope, dignity, and self-confidence. The town was in a state of euphoric excitement in anticipation of the concert. For the first time ever, we had to hold two concerts to accommodate the anticipated crowd. What a beautiful week!
July 2016 Brasov, Romania
This was our 12th consecutive year in this beautiful medieval city. We ended the week singing “We Sing for the Children” in the Catholic cathedral. Here is a video of this beautiful performance.
June 2016 Cluj, RomaniaWe have just finished our first year of PLUS – our pilot after school program which combines literacy and music for the vulnerable and marginalized children of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. In celebration, over the course of a month, these children performed multiple concerts and a final afternoon concert in the park, hosted by Bosch Corporation. This year exceeded our expectations and we are so thrilled to be continuing this program next year.
April 2016 Kharkiv, UkraineThis was our first time hosting a camp in Eastern Ukraine, and it was a success! At the end of the week, over 300 children performed at the Opera house, singing in three languages. Those living in poverty (orphans, refugees and children with Down syndrome) joined “traditional” family children to reach for the stars and achieve what many thought to be impossible. This camp set a record for media coverage. Connie was interviewed on three television shows and media crews were in attendance for every aspect of camp.
At the Opera House performance, the rector of the University of Radio and Electronics spoke to the audience with these remarks, “Is it possible to teach students programming in one week? And is it possible to teach children to sing in a choir in one week, or to teach children to play a musical instrument who have never played an instrument or sung before? Constance Fortunato has proved that nothing is impossible. For one week, 300 children came to our university to learn music and singing, filling the university with music and joy. For the first time an event such as this took place in Kharkiv and we couldn’t pass up such an initiative for several reasons: these are our children, and specialists in the field of technology should play musical instruments. This is a requirement of Stanford University. Why should we do any less? We need to start now to develop our future students. We were spying on Constance and have applied her technology to teach our students for programming….in one week!”
March 2016 Cluj Romania
This Music Camp was for blind, visually impaired, deaf and hearing impaired children to learn the gift of music. This was the first time in the history of this camp that we have included “traditional learners” along with these special children. The children each used their unique abilities, becoming perfect partners, and by the end of the week, friends. Here is a video of the camp from a local news station. It is in Romanian, but the smiles are universally understood.
January 2016 Voznesensk, Ukraine
This was our second year to hold a Christmas festival in this city. Many of the children who attended this camp are orphans and have never touched an instrument before. The daily classes and rehearsals were held in the orphanage, but on the sixth day a concert was held in the beautiful House of Culture. At the end of the six day camp, many children were in tears, not wanting the week to be over and wondering when we might return
The video here is from a local nightly news station in Voznesensk. The news anchor is speaking in Ukrainian, but you can get the ‘feel’ of the concert. The boy being interviewed has no parents. The man being interviewed is the manager of the chamber Orchestra of Mikolaiv. He says he finds it almost incomprehensible that these children are able to do this. The Music Camp is consistently referred to as a “Master Class”—because I use it as an opportunity to inspire the audience by how much can be learned in such a short time when a positive and dynamic environment is established. Enjoy the video and get the “feel’ for the impact made by our concerts!