Andrea Tache '19 spent part of her summer break as a guest teacher and official translator at the International Music Festival hosted by Sifais in La Carpio, San Jose, Costa Rica.
Sifais, or Sistema Integral de Formación Artística para Inclusión Social, offers free music lessons, instruments, and opportunities with advanced ensembles to the children of La Carpio, an underprivileged area of San Jose.
"I traveled with a small group of teachers sponsored by FASE, the Foundation for the Advancement of String Education, directed by the School's own Debbie Lyle," said Tache.
"In the morning, I would typically translate advanced Bornoff technique and teacher training classes. After lunch, Sound Impact, a music collective bringing music to communities that may not often experience live string music, would give concerts to the rest of the festival. My time in the afternoon was split between rehearsing with the advanced orchestra, translating for the beginner class, and giving my own mini lessons to both cello and violin players in the beginner orchestra."
In addition to teaching, Tache herself had a powerful learning experience at Sifais.
"I developed my translating skills the most over the course of the trip," she said. "My favorite part of the learning experience, however, was being trusted to give lessons to the children who were just learning their instruments. I was able to experiment with blending the teaching styles I had been exposed to in order to tailor each lesson to the student or students with whom I was working."
Back home, Tache has made a number of plans to continue her involvement with education.
"Though I am still considering many different options, I know I want to continue being involved with education, whether as a career path or just in volunteer settings," she said. "I will be pursuing a Capstone study this year on string education to further explore these possibilities."
In September, 2018 Tache was selected to perform with the South Central Virginia Regional Orchestra. She will study under the baton of conductor Erin Freeman, resident conductor of the Richmond Ballet, director of the Richmond Symphony Chorus, director of choral activities at Virginia Commonwealth University, and artistic director of the Wintergreen Arts Festival.
This year's free concert will take place at Fluvanna County High School November 9 – 10 and feature repertoire that includes Berlioz's March to the Scaffold from Symphonie Fantastique, Bernstein's Overture to West Side Story, and Bizet's Carmen Suite #1.