“Today’s global challenges demand international competence. Americans who study abroad, engage in experiential learning, or study foreign areas and languages are far better prepared for the demands of the twenty-first century. By numbers ranging from 77 percent to more than 90 percent, Americans believe that it is important for their children to learn other languages, study abroad, and learn about other countries and cultures.” — 2007 national survey, Lake Research Partners & Tarrance Group.
Through a special project with Sister Cities of Wilmington, the Wilmington Children’s Chorus engages in musical collaborations and immersive cultural experiences with youth from Wilmington’s sister cities. High school students enrolled in WCC’s Performing Choirs have the opportunity to travel internationally, make music across the seas, and forge lasting friendships through song.
The seeds of this special collaboration were planted in August of 2011 when the WCC conducted its first cultural exchange to Wilmington’s Sister Cities of Fulda, Germany to visit the Youth Chamber Orchestra of Fulda, Germany. The members of the Fulda Youth Orchestra work diligently to uphold the highest standards of musical performance. The organization is widely recognized in the Fulda region for its commitment to musical education. In the same vein, the WCC has established a reputation for excellence and opportunity for young people of the Wilmington region.
The success of that exchange marked the beginning of a long-term effort to regularly expose the youth of Wilmington to the global community while serving as representatives of the best that the city has to offer. “Many choirs tour, but this kind of cultural exchange goes a step further,” explains WCC’s Artistic Director Kimberly Doucette. “By connecting with like-minded ensembles from Wilmington’s sister cities, sharing their homes, and making music together, we are not just making art; we’re fostering lasting friendships and creating experiences that will make our choristers more confident in today’s world.”
This important exchange has only been strengthened through collaborative trips in 2013, 2015, 2017, and most recently, 2019. The orchestra’s plans to visit WCC in 2021 were disrupted by COVID-19. The choir hopes to welcome its international friends in the summer of 2022!