Voices Without Borders is pleased to present the album and slideshow for the 2015 "Getting to Know You" Cultural Exchange between Sol Art Children's Choir of Hanoi, Vietnam and the Little Traverse Youth Ensemble of Michigan, U.S.. We extend our gratitude to Jack and Sara Kukuk, Sol Art Children's Choir of Hanoi, Little Traverse Youth Ensemble of Michigan, our parents on both sides of the world, host parents, volunteers and sponsors who made this very special event possible! Thank you!

YouTube Video

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Voices Without Borders presented an international cultural exchange project with our long-time friends of the Sol Art Children's Choir and dancers from Hanoi, Vietnam. This is one of the projects Voices Without Borders presents in order to achieve its stated goal:  "promote appreciation for and understanding of children and youth choral singing and dance and to promote peace, international friendship, and understanding among and between the participating young people through choral music, dance, and the other performing arts activities around the world and locally.

The Sol Art Choir members traveled to Petoskey, Michigan for a six-day program designed to develop a greater understanding of the cultures of the two participating groups. The Sol Art participants were hosted by the Little Traverse Youth Choir of Petoskey and friends.

This summer's exchange ran from June 24-July 1, 2015. During the exchange, the partici
pants shared mutual language and cultural exchange programs. The goal was to get to know more about each other's culture through picnics, cookouts (campfires, etc.); song and dance rehearsals; and by presenting performances on Mackinac Island, at the Music in Mackinaw Summer Concert Series, at Crooked Tree Arts Center, and other locations. Seven of the Vietnamese participants arrived a week early, on June 14th, and enjoyed a wonderful American summer camp experience at Lake Ann Camp here in Michigan.

Vietnam National Academy of Music, Sol Art Children's Choir - Hanoi, Vietnam
- The Sol Art Centre in Hanoi is the home of Vietnam's Children's Choir Sol Art. The Sol Art Centre wants to bring leisure,
pleasure and joy to children through music, which also helps boost their confidence and communication skills. The Academy provides, music, dance and other arts programs for children in the city from a very young age through high school. The ages of the participants in this years cultural exchange program range from 8-16 years. The Sol Art Choir has performed in the Hanoi Opera House, on Vietnam television in such shows as "Peter Yarrow and the Heart of Vietnam", "Earth Hour 09" and the 2009 International Choir Festival in  Geognam, Korea. In 2007, the Sol Art Choir performed in the Voices Without Borders' Children of the World in Harmony International Choir Festival in Hanoi and again in Petoskey in 2010. These two festivals were produced by Sara Russell Kukuk and Jack Kukuk, producers of this year's cultural exchange program.

The Little Traverse Touring Ensemble
is comprised of young singers from Charlevoix, Indian River, East Jordan, Alanson, Cheboygan, Harbor Springs and Petoskey. The group, a part of the Little Traverse Youth Choir, has performed in and helped host several Children of the World in Harmony Festivals. The Choir has toured Michigan, Ontario, Canada, and New York State; and presented many local concerts and events. They have performed with the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra and Chorus, the Northern Michigan Chorale, Young Americans, at the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, and most recently with Broadway and film star, Franc D'Ambrosio in his Hollywood stage show - Songs of the Silver Screen. Aleta Watton is the director of the Touring Ensemble.

Voices Without Borders, Inc (VWB)
, producer of this cultural exchange, began producing festivals and other programs in the Northern Michigan area in 2009. This followed many years of producing Children of the World in Harmony festivals since 1976 around the world on five continents through the International Society for Choral and Performing Arts. In 2010, the Little Traverse Youth Choir was formed to provide choral singing opportunities for young people in the Northern Michigan area. Since that time, VWB has produced several international festivals, concerts, workshops, master classes and other events in the area. Voices Without Borders is a member of the Northern Michigan Cultural Alliance.