For its 37th season the Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale has designated the theme, “Uniting the World Through Song”, and they are kicking things off thoroughly in that spirit. From August 6th to August 13th the Children’s Chorale will host students from our sister city Fujiyoshida Japan. For more than a decade the Children’s Chorale has played a crucial role in the cultural exchange between our two cities. The Children’s Chorale has toured to Japan and Fujiyoshida specifically on numerous occasions, most recently in the fall of 2012. Students from Fujiyoshida travel to Colorado each summer as part of a 50 year old sister city relations program. As part of its programming the Children’s Chorale has always been eager to recruit families to host students from Fujiyoshida. Last summer when students from Japan traveled here to hand deliver a check for funds raised in support of victims of the Waldo Canyon Fire they stayed with the Children’s Chorale families. This kind of intercultural exchange is an integral value of the Children’s Chorale. The organization prides itself on creating good world citizens. This year represents a special opportunity for exchange. The timing works out for the Fujiyoshida students to join CSCC at its annual season kickoff camp, this year to be held at Camp Golden Bell.
While their trip will be bookended with a visit to a typical American middle school to begin with and a trip up Pikes Peak for a triumphant conclusion, the majority of the Fujiyoshida students’ time will be spent in the woods near Divide at Camp Golden Bell. Like generations of Colorado Springs school children they will make the trip up Highway Twenty Four to learn about themselves in the woods. Cultural exchange being the name of the game, the student’s from Fujiyoshida will join the members of the Springs and Pikes Peak Singers of the Children’s Chorale in most of their rehearsals and activities. They will participate in many camp favorites from roasting marshmallows, to kayaking, archery and horseback riding. They will also take a guided nature hike and take a ride on a zip line course. It won’t be an only one way exchange either. The Japanese guests will be teaching CSCC’s singers to do calligraphy and origami, though clearly the most important cultural exchange will be the time spent together and the friendships created as these young people from opposite sides of the world play and sing together.