On June 2nd, PC and YME had the honor of collaborating with young singers and dancers from Rwanda for a performance at UNICEF's Children's Champions Dinner, held at the State House. That evening, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his wife Jeanette were presented with an award for their work in promoting education and economic development in Rwanda. Ben Affleck, Deval Patrick, Swanee Hunt, and others were rumored to be on the audience. But what made the night special was not the glamorous performance venue or the potential celebrity sightings, but the power of music as a universal language shown so clearly in action. A few days before the performance, BCC singers and the Rwandan performers met together to rehearse. Right from the start it was clear that there were few words all mutually understood, however there was one thing everyone could relate to: music. With warm smiles on their faces, the Rwandan youth taught BCC singers a song of their own. Although this might seem simple, the mutual knowledge of this one song brought about a feeling of closeness that few other things can. The pre-existing language barrier melted away, and a new found bond developed between the groups.
At the event, President Paul Kagame gave an address. His words proved to be very relevant to the power of this collaboration. He said:
"Before I proceed, permit me to share something with you about the group of young girls who performed for us a few moments ago alongside their friends from the Boston Children's Chorus.
I was delighted to see these groups of children sing together although they live thousands of miles apart.
On April 7th of this year, Rwanda commemorated fifteen years since the 1994 genocide.
At this time, when - understandably - sorrow settles quite heavily across the country, these children we heard tonight sang songs to us - of hope and courage well beyond their years. Songs that embodied the spirit of Rwanda's resilience.
In essence, these children - and their peers back home - continue to inspire us to push against sometimes seemingly overwhelming odds to build the country they deserve, and they are the reason Rwanda will prosper." - President Paul Kagame