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Through Music We Are One

In the summer of 1998, the Youth Symphony embarked on a 20 day tour of New Zealand and Australia, including a performance in the Sydney Opera House. The Sydney Opera House concert was a fabulous experience for all, but a simple welcoming ceremony in New Zealand proved to have the longest lasting impact. During our time on the north island of New Zealand, our tour organizer arranged for us to spend a night with a Maori tribe. Upon our arrival at the Maori community near Lake Taupo, in the center of the north island in the shadow of volcanic peaks, we learned the traditional Moari greeting, bumping noses twice while saying 'kiora'. After being greeted by our hosts, we were separated, male from female and seated facing the tribal council. A tribal elder gave an official greeting to us in his native Maori tongue which was subsequently translated for us. The tribal elders' Maori words, 'He kotahi tatou me nga waita' translated into 'Through music we are one.' which we learned to be true as during the evening the Maori's shared their music with us, and we shared ours with them. Upon returning to the U.S.A., we adopted the phrase as our organizational motto, a motto that has guided our musical endeavors ever since.

Gary Nicholson
Music Director
Colorado Springs Youth Symphony Association