When it comes to end of school year celebrations, the WIZO Gan Vanof youth village marches to the beat of its own drum.
Last week, Gan Vanof’s campus in Petah Tikva transformed into an outdoor concert venue for the annual Aman Ba'gan (Artists in the Garden) student rock concert. The young musicians in the school’s extracurricular music program performed a variety of Israeli hits before a live audience of family, friends, and schoolmates.
“Before coming here, many students had never even picked up a musical instrument,” said Uri Saar, Gan Vanof’s director. “Now these same students feel a deep connection to the music they create," he said. “You can see how these students’, most of whom live in our dormitories, confidence grows each year as they get on stage to perform. There’s no need to be shy here. We are one big family.”
Sivan Camera, a ninth grade student with a powerhouse of a voice has embraced this mentality. “I was pretty disappointed when I wasn’t on stage last year,” she said. “My teacher asked me if I wanted to sing this year and practiced with me until I felt comfortable, and now here I am!”
Sivan at right, rehearsing before the show.
Throughout the evening, it was clear that the students connected with their instruments of choice. Some students, after finding their voice through music, were inspired to take their talents to the next level. For example, Viktoria Oreshko, Sivan’s duet partner, formed a band with peers from Gan Vanof’s music program. They will be competing in the semi-finals of an upcoming youth band competition in Herzliya.
Viktoria sings during the Aman Ba'gan performance
Saar stressed that the support of WIZO’s federations are critical in enabling Gan Vanof to continue such important enrichment activities as the after-school music program."This music program is crucial for so many reasons. It gives our students the world," he said. "We must ensure that it continues."
It’s hard to describe the atmosphere in Gan Vanof during Aman Ba'gan. The proud parents see their children thriving on stage, the emotional music teachers stand off to the side smiling broadly, student musicians' composure transforms as the crowd reacts to their talent. None of this translates easily to words. This isn’t an issue at WIZO Gan Vanof.
Perhaps Danish author, Hans Christian Anderson said it best, “Where words fail, music speaks.”
Photo Credits: Omri Kolany
Jackie Weiss and Kaylin Berinhout contributed to this report