Sunday, September 21, 2014

Csányi Foundation

Yesterday, Dan and I traveled to Jászberény. There I gave a presentation to the students from the Csányi Foundation. The Csányi Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Dr. Csányi Sándor to assist gifted children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The children begin the program around age 10 and continue until they get a job. That means the foundation helps them through all of their schooling (what we would call elementary, junior high, high school and college in the US). Yesterday we met about 16 students in Jászberény age 10-17. The oldest students have been a part of the program for about 8 years. Most students are in the program for 11-14 years.

The first part of the day was traveling to Jászberény. We took a train from Budapest to Hatvan. There we had to switch to another train to take us to Jászberény.

Both of us are unfamiliar with trains.  The hardest part for me is that they don't tell you where you are.  You have to watch out the window like a hawk to look for your stop. You have maybe a minute or two to get off, then it keeps going. I felt much better on the way back home because we were more familiar with the route. On the way to Jászberény, we saw someone get kicked off of the train for not having their ticket. Yikes!

When we arrived in Jászberény, one of the leaders, Judit, and three of the students met us at the train station. They drove us to the middle of the city to the Csányi Foundation. We were greeted warmly and we began talking with the students. After the remainder of the group arrived, I gave a presentation about myself and music. I shared a little bit of information about my hometown and my life at home. Then, I talked about music. After telling them about my research of Hidas, we discussed the definition of music, the meaning of music, types of music, and how music can connect people, regardless of race, culture, and nationality. Finally, I played several examples of American music for the students: patriotic music, jazz, classical, theatrical, rock, and pop.  My final example was "Happy" by Pharrell Williams. All of the students knew that song!

 After the class, I worked with the students to write an article for the Csányi Foundation.  It was a short report about the event. One of the students translated it into Hungarian on the spot. I could hardly believe it. She was great!

When we were finished with the article, a few of the students gave us a short tour of the city. We had so much fun laughing and learning about the history of Jászberény. The museum in Jászberény has an amazing old horn in their collection but we were unable to see because the museum was already closed.  Luckily we could see representations of it in the statues in the city. The horn is very important to the history of Hungary and the Jasz people. Made of elephant tusk, it dates back to the 10th century. I hope we can go back to see it someday.

After our tour, we hopped back on the train to Budapest. Dan and I reflected on one of the best days we have had so far. It was an amazing day! I'm grateful to have had this opportunity to share my culture and my passion for music with the students of the Csányi Foundation in Jászberény. I was able to teach them about music, English, and American culture. Yet, I have to admit that my favorite part was learning from the students. They shared their stories and dreams and we laughed together as we talked and explored the city. These bright young people make me even more excited to be here in Hungary. I hope I can have many more experiences like this while I'm here.

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