CU Winds offers students an intense, transformative experience. Students are challenged to commit many months of work to the group’s goals of making music and performing service. They move from the known to the unknown and live in an environment in which they are expected to call upon and discover reserves which they were not aware were theirs to command. In addition, students learn how, through their full commitment, that the group becomes larger than the sum of their individual identities, thus encouraging them to increase their own wills to achieve as well as their standards of performance and behavior.

CU Winds in Costa Rica

CU Winds returned to Costa Rica for a performing and outreach tour during Winter Break in January 2012,  fulfilling Cornell’s mission to unite education and service and deepen the educational lives of involved students.

Costa Rican collaborators included North American Cultural Center executives Jerry Ledin and Manuel Arce; composer and performer Eddie Mora from the University of Costa Rica; Miguel Pena, National Director of Sistema Nacional Educacion Music (SiNEM), Olman Chavez, Music Director, Liceo de Poas, Pablo Sunol, SiNEM director, Pavas; Willberth Vargas, Director of the San Isidro Conservatory; Rita Diaz, SiNEM director, Limon; and Lyn Statten, chair of the outreach committee of the Canadian Club of Costa Rica.

The ensemble performed 11 concerts in 12 days, gave master classes and workshops at 5 schools and donated 95 instruments plus music books and accessories. CU Winds also welcomed 5 Costa Rican students in the Manuel Maria Guttierrez Orchestra (“Ticos”) to join the Wind Ensemble.

Cultural and language exchanges were integral to the experience. CU Winds students learned some Spanish in preparation for the tour, deepening their experience and increasing the opportunity to develop longer lasting friendships with the students they interacted with in Costa Rica. CU Winds student leaders also aid in the planning and execution of travel and cultural exchange.

CU Winds students were honored to join in the SiNEM mission to “bring artistic and cultural awareness to at-risk populations to facilitate coexistence and positive relationships consistent with the Costa Rican democracy that is founded on peace, dialogue, exchange of opinions, and the fostering of social relations to help lower rates of violence and criminality in the country.” Cornell students benefited equally from this partnership. CU Winds tour alumni stated that the tour, “has changed my life,” ” is probably the most significant thing I’ll do in my life,” “is an incredible experience,” and “taught me the true meaning of service.”



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