While each day working with Art Relief International brings its own excitements and challenges, weeks in Chiang Mai seem to disappear. Sometimes I feel as if I've literally blinked whole weeks away! As volunteers come and go, there are certain things that help remind me that time is passing. Monday evening are spent at Thai Freedom House, Thursday afternoons with Young Lions, Wednesday mornings I spend with Hope Home, and each Wednesday night I head to the Volunteer House for the ever-anticipated Family Dinner. And, for those of you who are living or have previously lived in Chiang Mai, I am sure you know that every Tuesday evening means a visit to the North Gate Jazz Coop for a cold drink, cool crowd, and live music.
But this week at Art Relief International, we decided to extend our Tuesday evening activity just a bit further. Why should jazz music be limited to Tuesday night, when we have an eager audience on Wednesday mornings?
With the generous help of Thomas and Por from the North Gate Jazz Coop, we brought a bit of funk to the children of Hope Home this week, with a one-time-only live concert event.
Some of Hope Home's residents were a bit apprehensive at first...
But we all warmed up to the idea.
Yim and I even practiced our egg-shaking abilities to be able to join in at North Gate's next open mic night on Tuesday. Maybe you'll see us there?
As we sat with the children of Hope Home, listening to Por's Saxophone and Thomas's flute, I couldn't help but think of a favorite quote of mine, from the great mister Thelonious Monk - a renowned jazz musician, himself:
"Talking about music is like dancing about architecture."
What was remarkable to me about this week is that, even while the children of Hope Home face so many confinements in their lives - both physically and mentally - and even as most of the children have little to no verbal communication abilities, we could all understand the language given to us by Thomas and Por. These children may not have the ability to formulate words, but jazz doesn't need any. And, for me, that made this, as jazz-great Nat King Cole might say, unforgettable in every way.
And on that note, I'll let our pictures from the workshop speak for themselves.
To learn more about our friends at the North Gate Jazz Co-Op, please visit: