Monday, August 8, 2016

The Force Takes Love of Music International

The Force Takes Love of Music International 

Members of the Hampton University Marching Band The Force recently returned home from a Cultural Exchange Program sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. 

The program was designed to teach the public and private band students of Tegucigalpa the techniques and styles of a historical black college or university band. Hampton students shared with the students in Tegucigalpa some of the marching techniques and styles used by The Force.  

The six members of The Force had about 20 Honduran students each to teach in a three-hour span, Monday thru Friday. The Honduran students learned the basics of marching, intonation, articulation, pitch and tone.  All aspects were developed in the manner and style of The Force. 

"Personally, the one thing that will last with me, is the amount of privilege we live with here in the States,” said Tory Smart, Director of Bands at Hampton University. “There is a substantial amount of poverty, crime and lack of resources that is prevalent in Honduras. However, I’ve seen more laughter, humility, tears and genuine love for music in the last week than I have in almost 20 years.” 

The Honduran students learned seven songs that are performed regularly by The Force; Sleepers Awake, Geometry, Anytime Anyplace, ESPN, My Boo, This Is How We Do It, and Talkin' Out the Side of Your Neck. 

“The moment I landed in Honduras, I felt welcomed. The students were so enthusiastic and eager to learn on the first day,” said Christina Saldivar, senior music education major. “I can say that music is truly the universal language. The language barrier was not a hindrance to our teaching. Even when I didn't know the words to say, the students were still able to comprehend. I was humbled and honored to participate in such a wonderful cultural exchange.”

While in Honduras, the HU students also had the opportunity to visit with "Garifuna Nacional", the Honduran National Ballet as well as be interviewed on four local Honduran radio stations and appear on two of the main news channels in Honduras.  

"Each and every day after practice, the students longed for more information. They wanted to learn more about music, Hampton University, its culture and the United States in general," said Smart. "Realizing now, that music can take them to places never seen before, I believe wholeheartedly that there will be a new crop of Honduran students traveling to Hampton, Virginia to further their education at none other than our "Home by the Sea."  As an educator, and self-proclaimed ambassador of Honduras here in the states, I will do everything in my power to bring some of Tegucigalpa's brightest students to Hampton University and live the "American Dream."

- M. Lindsey ‘17