An important aspect to these training weeks is practical experience, so on Thursday we travelled to a local orphanage and worked with 50 children, producing beautiful music and laughter. As a thank you, the trip was closed by the children’s choir singing for us. We were all moved by the beauty of their sound. This video captures the day.
On Friday afternoon we had just finished working in small groups to give closing performances when Emmanuel picked up my guitar to sing a song that “even Chris knows!” The music invited the group to join in and participate together. Each person was involved – listening, creating, moving, singing – as improvised lyrics spoke of our first week together. In this closing song, “Music without Borders”, the group expressed everything we had done during the week. Otto and I had nothing left to say.
In September 2012, Chris Nicholson set up a music therapy program for people living with HIV and AIDS at a clinic in urban central Rwanda. In September 2013, he returned to continue his therapy work with vulnerable HIV+ adolescents and to train staff in Music & Health. He is Project Manager of Rwanda Youth Music and Tanzania Youth Music. Prior to his involvement with music therapy, Chris had an international performance and teaching career as a classical guitarist. He studied classical guitar at the Royal Academy of Music, London, and in Spain with maestros Jose Tomas and Alex Garrobe.