Thu, 15 May 2003

Indonesian Children Choir to tour U.S.

================= Tantri Yuliandini The Jakarta Post Jakarta -----------------

Following the success of last year's Children of the World Choir Concert at the Jakarta International Convention Center, the Indonesian Children's Choir directed by Aida Swenson Simanjuntak will depart next month for a series of concerts in the United States.

"Last year's performance attracted many people, and we are honored to take the invitation from the United States," Aida said, explaining that the upcoming concert would have support from the Indonesian Embassy in Washington and the United States- Indonesia Society (Usindo).

Some 30 children from Jakarta, Bali, Papua, and Makassar, will go on the World Harmony Tour 2003 touring American cities including San Francisco, Washington, and New York, between June and July.

The Indonesian Children's Choir will perform at the Golden Gate International Children's Choir Festival in San Francisco from June 23 until June 28, Aida said.

In Washington, they will perform at the World Bank Auditorium on July 3; at the Smithsonian Freer Gallery of Art on July 8; and at the National Cathedral on July 10.

"We also plan to perform for the Asia Society in New York, but we are still setting up the date for it," Aida said.

"The performance of these children as representatives of Indonesia will bring warmth and friendship to other nations, as well as introducing to the world that Indonesia is rich in culture and art," the choir's chairwoman of the steering committee Miranda S. Goeltom said in the media conference.

Besides the concerts in the U.S., Aida is also preparing for the next Children of the World Choir Concert, scheduled for December 2003.

"There have been tremendous response from other children choirs from all parts of Indonesia wanting to participate in the next performance," she said, explaining that the original choirs from seven provinces would be extended to 13 provinces this year, bringing a total to about 45 individual choirs.

The number of choirs from foreign schools across Indonesia have also increased from the 11 original participating schools last year, Aida said.

"You can imagine how full the plenary hall would be this year, and how much work needs to be done," she said.

The Children of The World Choir Concert 2003 would still employ the talents of Eko Supriyanto to put together the choreography, and also noted director Garin Nugroho.

A total of 5,000 VCDs of the concert last year -- held on Oct. 10, 2003 -- have since been distributed. About Rp 300 million in proceeds from the CD sale and from the concert will be donated to 30 orphanages in and around Jakarta.

"The donation will be in the form of computers, expert staff, and Internet cable connection for at least six months, which we hope will support the children's development in technology and information," Aida said.