By Rebecca Jackson
Editor’s note: In July 2014, we were pleased to feature a video on Musicovation that previewed the Sound Impact ensemble’s upcoming outreach trip to Costa Rica. The trip proved to be a great success, and we are excited to share some reflections on the experience from two of its members, Rebecca Jackson (violin) and Elizandro Garcia-Montoya (clarinet).
Being an organization just over a year old, Sound Impact is very grass roots. Danielle, Tiffany, and I wear many hats aside from playing music, and we also rely on the generosity and support of others in many forms. We are so grateful to Sound Impact guest artists, Elizandro Garcia-Montoya and Juan Jaramillo for giving so much and embracing and demonstrating the mission of Sound Impact. In an effort to reach as many communities as possible, our work and travel hours were long. Despite the exhaustion, they did everything with great joy. Not only did they share their musical gifts, but they also helped uscommunicate through LOTS O’ translation, carried gear, patiently waited when things got delayed, infused the atmosphere with fun through their sense of humor, and the list goes on. Even though we only came together as a quintet for the first time less than two weeks ago, we worked as a well-oiled machine, each of us looking after each other and stepping in to pick up the slack whenever needed. I could not have imagined better team members than Elizandro and Juan – they both have hearts of gold! Following is a beautifully written entry by Elizandro describing our travels through his homeland:
A special cultural exchange
We have concluded the Sound Impact Tour in Costa Rica. There are a few ideas and feelings that developed through our experience traveling in Costa Rica. I would like to share some of these ideas with our patrons and people who made this cultural exchange possible.
The social purpose behind the group Sound Impact was clearly demonstrated during these ten days of cultural exchange with students, families and audience members in all five communities we visited.
One of the primary objectives during this trip was to bring forth the importance of music to make a positive change in the world. Also, to show how music can be instrumental in developing stronger ties of friendship and solidarity between people.
One interesting aspect about the trip was spending time with our Costa Rican host families. These families open the doors of their houses with humility and care. They showed us why “ticos” are known around the world for their humbleness and their great sense of brotherhood and love for humanity. In most cases, these families didn’t speak English at all; however, that didn’t stop them from welcoming us with open arms and helping us in any way they could.
This cultural exchange happened in other ways as well. The connection between Sound Impact and the students developed rapidly through our love for music and it became evident from our first classes. The students showed a great deal of interest for learning and this motivated us to share our knowledge and to give the best of ourselves during performances. The varied concert program, presenting pieces from around the world, also added a sense of communion between nations.
Lastly, I want to highlight the beautiful gesture of the young students at Sinem Liberia. They organized to give us a farewell and token of appreciation by performing Costa Rican folk music. Costa Rican folk music, called “simarrona”, is used for entertainment and to celebrate special occasions in Costa Rican culture.
These and many more events made this trip unforgettable and it surpassed all expectations we had for this cultural exchange. We will forever be grateful for this experience. Viva Costa Rica!
Rebecca Jackson is a San Francisco-based violinist and co-founder of Sound Impact; Elizandro Garcia-Montoya is a Chicago-based clarinetist. Learn more about Rebecca, Elizandro, and the ensemble at www.thesoundimpact.org.