On January 1, 2010, Cultures in Harmony will turn five
years old. Thank you all so much for bringing us to this point.
Here are five ways
to help us celebrate five years of bringing people together through music:1. Give five Send us
at least five e-mails for our mailing list.2. Donate five Give $5 more than you usually would
. Give $5, $25, $55, $105, $505…you get the idea! Donors receive donor rewards at the levels advertised in our holiday store
. Thank you to Galen Tromble
for helping us kick-start this initiative with a donation of $1,000, which is $5 more than "awesome."3. Tell five
Tell five people about Cultures in Harmony. Forward one of our blog posts or the website
to five people.4. Watch five
Go to the Cultures in Harmony YouTube channel
and watch five videos, or go to our Flickr page
and pick five pictures you like. Forward them to five friends.5. Listen to fiveListen
to five tracks of music recorded during our projects.
To keep everyone motivated and excited, we will post one anecdote every couple days from each of our five years of projects. Your donation to Cultures in Harmony
supports friendships made possible through the universal language of music, so each story will focus on a friend or group of friends I have made and the impact of that friendship on our world.2005: The Violinist Who Taught America About Tunisia
On the morning of July 3, 2005, in a fragrant flower garden in a suburb of Tunis, I met a young violinist named Nidhal. I gave him a lesson on Mozart's Fourth Concerto and quickly realized that his talent deserved more than I could offer. "Do you want to pursue music?" I asked him after couscous at his family's home a few days later. He would probably have to quit violin and study engineering, he responded sadly.
At the end of the week of master classes I taught at a school in Tunis' thousand-year-old medina, I urged Nidhal to apply for next summer's Indiana University String Academy. On July 13, still jet-lagged, I gave a recital at IU, and at dinner afterwards I urged Mimi Zweig, the director of the Academy, to accept Nidhal. After teaching me for five years, Mimi deserves credit for nearly everything I am as a musician, and she promised to take my recommendation seriously.
In the spring of 2006, Mimi accepted Nidhal, and that summer, he came to the United States for the first time. He was the first African ever to attend the String Academy. The questions he received from his fellow campers were, ah, interesting: "Do you have cars yet, or do you get around on camels?" "Do you beat your chests like Tarzan in Africa?" "Are you terrorists?"
Yet after four weeks, his easy smile and affable personality had won him many friends among the scores of campers. He attended again in 2007 and 2008, rising to the top ensemble at the Academy. He applied to attend IU's Jacobs School of Music, one of the very best in the world. Three years after worrying that a lack of opportunity for musicians in Tunisia would thwart his musical dreams, would he be accepted?
He was—with one of the highest scores awarded to incoming freshmen at the auditions.
Nidhal is just one among our dozens of Tunisian friends. Every year, we collaborate with the Association des Supporters de la Creation Musicale
to teach Tunisia's finest young violinists, cellists, and pianists. We also study and perform with oud and kanun players. As both sides come to know one another, we learn about far more than each other's music.
Amal, a young female violinist, wrote in 2008: "You've changed the image that I had about Americans because you’re completely different. You're nice, kind, friendly, generous, awesome, beautiful."
Help us return to Tunisia to win friends one melody and one smile at a time. Donate to Cultures in Harmony today
.Click here to read the travelogue
about Project I
in Moldova and Tunisia in 2005. We have also conducted projects in Tunisia in 2007
, and 2009
These pictures show William and Nidhal on the same very long day in July 2008, first with William's dad in front of the Harvey home in Indianapolis, USA, and then with Nidhal's family in the Jebali home in Tunis, Tunisia.