BY: Esther Rhoades
EVENT: Mandela Day Libraries
03 July 2018 - 31 December 2018

Grand Monadnock Youth Choirs Present Songs of Freedom and Peace

Celebrating the Global Nelson Mandela Centenary Musical Tribute


(Keene NH)   It’s the 100th birthday of Nelson Mandela on July 18 and the world has been invited to raise its voice in celebration and recognition of his legacy.  The singers of the Grand Monadnock Youth Choirs (GMYC) in grades 2-12 are compelled to bring an international celebration to Keene, honoring “A global icon with a lifetime of achievements (who) deserves to have a 100th birthday celebration.”

            The event is a 100 Year celebration of Mr. Mandel via the Long Walk to Freedom Brand, which includes a vision to use musical tribute events, delivered live in multiple cities on his birthday and beyond, July 18, with the aim of supporting The Mandela long Walk to Freedom Schools Library project.  Mandela himself inspired the music festival in one of his many recognized quotes; “It's music and dancing that makes me at peace with the world.”

            When GMYC Artistic Director, Esther Rhoades, became aware of the opportunity she immediately reached out to event organizers in South Africa.  “Participating in this event is both very moving for me, and also provides an opportunity for GMYC to grow our global ambassadorship.  GMYC’s Cecilia Ensemble has traveled to Europe ten times in the last 20 years to perform and collaborate with choirs from many different countries.  In April, Cecilia traveled to the Czech Republic and performed a song written by a musician while in the Terezin concentration camp. Singing brings people together, no matter where you live or what language you speak.”

            Rhoades believes in the importance of Mandela’s mission to address poverty and literacy among children.  “Numerous studies demonstrate that singing improves memory, cognition, reading ability and self-motivation.  Young singers learn how to work together as part of a group and develop self-confidence while also finding their voice. They actually learn music as though it was a language and we use the term “music literacy” to describe reading, writing, composition and improvisation, just like any other language.  Each year, GMYC engages over 125 students in the Monadnock Region with the opportunity to grow and learn through music.  These children grow up to become involved citizens, creating a better world.” 

Mandela philanthropic will is well established in his post-presidential office with a focus of “liberating children from poverty through improved literacy,” Since 2011, the Mandela Literacy Project has provided more than 100,000 South African children daily access to reading materials through containerized libraries with an additional 100 000 having access to reading clubs and books.  

Be part of the solution and help us generate more liberation via litertacy, donate now, every little bit helps.

Grand Monadnock Youth Choir Mandela celebration


Name Comment Date Amount
Carolee Ziegenhagen Having lived in South Africa from 1989 - 1993, I am well aware of what an amazing man Nelson Mandela was. I pray that other young South Africans will be educated and understand his message of respect and forgiveness. 16 July 2018 1,332.00 ZAR
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