Orchestra concert to benefit Toledo sister cityWritten by Brandi Barhite | Associate Editor | email@example.com
Editor’s note: This a continuing series on Toledo International Youth Orchestra’s planned trip to Tanga. Toledo Free Press Special Sections Editor Brandi Barhite plans to travel to Africa with the group.
Members of the Toledo International Youth Orchestra (TIYO) are trying not to let the pressure get to them.
When they perform their Nov. 16 concert, the proceeds will go toward building a music room for Toledo Secondary School in Tanga, Tanzania. The concert will be hosted at the Westgate Chapel, starting at 7 p.m. Admission is $10, and tickets can be purchased at the door.
“It is so nice to do it for something so meaningful,” said LeeAnn Song, who plays the cello.
Song is traveling with TIYO members to Tanga, which is Toledo’s sister city. They are raising money for the goodwill trip, which could cost as much as $3,000 per person. Many members want to go, but cannot afford it. Song’s father, Yan Kun Song, is TIYO’s conductor.
The Nov. 16 concert will feature Toledo Symphony Orchestra members who will perform pieces never performed in the United States. Some TIYO members are performing group solos with the adults.
“It is so good to know they are playing for a good cause,” said Amy Chang Simon, associate principal cello for the Toledo Symphony.
She said young musicians get excited when they get to play with professionals, and it is nice for them to see that music can be a career.
TIYO member Hannah Russ plans to do chores around the house to raise money for her trip to Africa. She is looking forward to the concert and to seeing the finished music room when she visits Tanga in June. The cost of the music room has not been determined. The Embassy of Tanzania in Washington, D.C., is researching the cost for TIYO.
“It is fun to travel internationally and to see all these kids who are basically the same as us, except they speak different languages and have different accents,” Russ said.
Jacob Sander said he hopes he can raise enough money for the trip, maybe even find a corporate sponsor. The 15-year-old traveled overseas for the first time in the spring when TIYO went to sister cities Poznan, Poland and Delmenhorst, Germany.
When he plays at the Nov. 16 concert, it will be a little intimidating. After all, he is playing to help an East African school. Tanga families can barely afford to send their children to school, which is about $140 per year at Toledo Secondary School. Students have no instruments, only their voices to make music.
LeeAnn Song said the plan is to make a connection during the trip and then send instruments to the school over the years. She also wants Toledo residents to consider sponsoring one Tanga student so he or she can attend school.
“We threw around going to Spain, France or Japan, but I am glad we chose Africa in the end,” she said.