This long overdue post will briefly highlight our new Wat Oot Music Program or WOMP!!! With funds raised by Amy Nathan in California, WOMP was born! Amy hooked us up with James Speck who was able to spend time at Wat Opot teaching the kids how to use the Ukelele’s Amy bought for us in Phnom Penh. She also bought us recorders, which easily transports one back to primary school.
Through James’ Phnom Penh music scene connections we have had 3 groups visit us as well as James’ own band, Up 2 U Mango!
With a healthy Music Fund budget, we were able to purchase an electric piano, and electric guitar and recently 2 refurbished guitars. In June of this year, we were also able to take 10 lucky children to see Phnom Penh’s Simphony Music School’s children perform at their annual concert. The kids were chosen based on their interest in music as well as their overall behavior and school status.
Excitement was in the air on the way to PP, with so many questions on what we were to see. First on the agenda was to still our hungry stomach’s with some Ice Cream!
With time to kill we stopped in at the beautiful Wat Phnom which makes a great backdrop for some photo’s.
Finally it was time to head to the very fancy Intercontinental hotel. Inside the large ballroom, the kids were a little overwhelmed…
But once they watched very little tots playing the piano and their friend James up on stage,
they loosened up although we were all freezing from the air conditioning!
After the concert, James presented Wat Opot with a brand new Viola, donated by a friend of his.
The concert may have ended, but our night was just beginning! We headed to Master Suki Soup for dinner. The same restaurant where the young man who was able to go to culinary school with funding from Wat Opot now works.
The kids loved the restaurant and the way you cook your own food at the table!
They really enjoyed seeing all their big brothers and sister who took time out of their university studies to have dinner with us…it’s not like we had to twist their arms; I mean, how many university students will turn down a free meal, especially in such a happening restaurant as Master Suki Soup?
The educational aspect of the trip was not lost at the restaurant when our Sociologist, Dara, had the older kids talk about their university, working, and how it feels to be away from everyone while living in Phnom Penh.
Our surprise guest was Sovanrith’s mother who works in Phnom Penh. She was able to meet us at the restaurant and spend some quality time with her son.
Alas, the day finally came to an end and needless to say the late trip back home was very very quiet!
It was a great trip made possible by kind-hearted people who understand the importance of music and it’s ability to transform and transport anyone who has the desire to give it a chance.