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Concord Community Music School Concerts Feature Music of Concord’s New Americans

CONCORD, N.H.—Concord Community Music School is pleased to celebrate the rich musical traditions that New Americans bring to New Hampshire in two concerts on April 14 and 16. Music of Nepal, Bhutan, and India will be featured in the Himalaya Heritage Music Group’s free lunchtime April 14 concert. The Songweavers women’s chorus will present a 25th anniversary gala concert including folk songs from a variety of ethnic traditions on April 16, featuring a Swahili folk song taught to them by Desiré Kiruhura.


The spotlight on some of Concord’s newly arrived musicians at this month’s events is an outgrowth the Concord Community Music School’s leadership work on the Steering Committee of the Welcoming Concord Initiative. Welcoming Concord, which began through the statewide efforts of the Endowment for Health’s Immigration Integration Initiative, is a forum for collective action and shared learning to advance immigrant integration in Concord.

“The Music School’s involvement with the Welcoming Concord Initiative, and sponsoring these concerts, is a terrific example of promoting and celebrating immigrant integration for the receiving community, as well as for our newest community members. The Music School is actively fostering positive cultural exchanges and diversity, which benefits everyone in the community,” said James Snodgrass, chair of the Steering Committee of Welcoming Concord and Executive Director of Second Start.

Julianne Morse, Traditional Arts Coordinator at the NH State Council on the Arts and Arts & Culture co-chair of Welcoming Concord, adds, “Every single person in our communities deserves access to the universal joy in music. The Music School has been a leader in making that possible.”

Bachs Lunch Programs: Music of South Asia

Thursday, April 14, 12:10-12:50 p.m., Concord Community Music School


On April 14, Shyam Nepali, Sagar Khatiwada, and Harimaya Adhikari, known as the Himalaya Heritage Musical Group, will perform a concert titled Folk, Sacred, and Classical Music of Nepal, Bhutan, and India. The concert will feature music from Nepal, Bhutan, and India, sung and played on the harmonium, tabla, and sarangi. The performers, all native to Nepal, are highly trained in these musical traditions and sought after for public concerts and traditional celebrations throughout New England.

Bach’s Lunch programs are free and open to the public, and take place from 12:10 to 12:50 p.m. on the first and second Thursdays of each month in the Music School’s Recital Hall, 23 Wall Street, downtown Concord.

Songweavers Concert: African Song and Drumming

Saturday, April 16, 7:00 p.m., South Congregational Church in Concord

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 603-228-1196 or visit


Songweavers, a women’s community chorus with a longstanding tradition of performing music from many ethnic traditions, is celebrating its 25th anniversary year with a gala concert in Concord, featuring African-style drumming, traditional music from around the world, and a song taught to the group by a local New American.

In “Desiré’s Song,” a Swahili hymn, the group will be joined by Desiré Kiruhura, who taught them the new song, for a call and response performance. The group met Desiré when they visited an English as a Second Language class at Second Start last fall. Songweavers were invited so that the students could learn English in the context of American folk songs, so they shared songs such as “This Little Light of Mine” and “He’s Got the Whole World in his Hands.”

As Songweavers Director Peggo Horstmann Hodes recalls, “We echoed Desiré’s words as best we could, giving us an immediate experience of how hard it is to learn an entirely new language. Afterwards, I videotaped Desiré singing his song v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y so Songweavers could learn it. He translated the words for me. They meant, ‘I’m singing for God and God sees me. I’m singing for God. He sees me and believes in me.’ “

One of the many thank you notes received from the students summed up the morning: “Thank you for singing, dancing, playing drums. Good day, good dancing, good group. Come again. God bless you so much.”

The program will include some of the 130-voice chorus’s greatest hits, including “Tell All My Friends,” “Isé Oluwa,” and “The Power Chant.” They will be joined by the Songweaver Drummers—an African-style drumming group—and by the Music School’s Scholarship Vocal Ensemble and Purple Finches Youth Chorus for an intergenerational choral performance.


About the Concord Community Music School

Concord Community Music School is a full member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education and is recognized nationally for program innovation and management excellence. Welcoming adults, teens, and children of all musical abilities, 53 artist teachers reach more than 33,000 people in four states with educational programs, concerts, workshops, and community partnerships. CCMS has received major funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Hearst Foundation, New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, Jane’s Trust, and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. The Music School is the 2005 recipient of the NH Governor’s Arts Award for Cultural Access Leadership