YONA graduation!

This past Monday - November 4th, 2013 - after four weeks of practicing on their cardboard violins, our 20 YONA-Sistema students “graduated” to their real instruments in a ceremony entitled “From Paper to Wood”. The kids were so excited to share the songs they’ve learned with an audience comprised of their families, friends, and program supporters. They performed five songs using their paper instruments, demonstrating their general violin skills (such as posture, positioning, and bowing), and then challenged their families and friends in the audience to join in for a rousing rendition of the “VIOLA Song”.
After the “concert” portion of the event ended, the ceremony began! Each child’s name was called, and they turned in their cardboard violins (to be taken home later), signed a violin care agreement that they’d developed with the Teaching Artists, received a certificate, and shook hands with all of their teachers. After crossing the stage, they then got to see their own violins for the very first time! I was honoured to get to open the instrument cases for them to show them what their violins look like. I got to see some really excited little faces!
Once each of them had their violins in front of them, the Teaching Artists guided them through picking them up and putting them in position, and then Site Coordinator Amanda counted down to their very first note together. A magical musical moment, indeed!
It was immediately apparent that their weeks spent with the cardboard violins made a huge difference in their playing ability. They knew how to confidently hold the instruments, how to stand with them, and how to bow straight across the strings, which is a massive achievement for anyone’s first time playing a violin. Everyone was so proud, and afterward we had time for family photos, cake, and celebration!
Now it’s time to start in with the real instruments. I’m looking forward to some squeaky and exciting weeks ahead!

You can view a slideshow of the event below. A short video will also follow in the next couple of weeks.

post by Alyssa
Educational Outreach Manager

photos by Carmyn
Community Relations Coordinator

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