At the beginning of May we had our very first Welcome Notes training in the Muziekschool Amsterdam Noord. 22 musicians joined us for the training and it was a wonderful and exciting weekend led by Otto de Jong and Leslie Snider.
On the 26th of May we organized our first music workshop in De Koepel, an emergency refugee center in Haarlem. The workshop was led by our trainer Sherwin and he was joined by two trainees. Initially, nobody had gathered to join the workshop, and so our two trainees set out in what was a huge former prison building to attract some attention and draw in participants. Through song they managed to get a few residents to join us and we began the workshop with a handful of curious participants.
Our two trainees opened the workshop by singing and teaching an easy and joyful South African song, which turned out to be a big hit! Percussion instruments were handed out and in no time the group was playing and singing energetically. Attracted by the music, more men and women peeked into the room and joined our song and drum circle. By the end we had a big group of people together, playing music, dancing and having great fun doing it!
It was rewarding to see the smiling faces and to feel that we could offer an outlet for self-expression through music. One resident confided to us that he was reluctant to join the workshop because he had had a very long and exhausting day, in interviews with the IND (Immigratie en Naturalisatie Dienst) and he had felt sad and tired. However, the music won him over and so he ended up joining in, all smiles and full of energy afterwards, and asked us to return to De Koepel again soon.
There couldn’t have been a better way to start off our Welcome Notes workshops and we look forward to organizing many more!