Park Stickney in Palestine

by Ehud Krinis

Park Stickney
The Salem village music center near Nablus was visited Saturday, October 15th, 2011, by American jazz harpist Park Stickney who is here for the opening of the Jaffa Harp Festival. Festival initiator harpist Sunita Staneslow and her spouse Fred Schlomka of Green Olive Tours informed Park about the Salem center and he decided to include it in this - his first - visit.

During his visit at the center, Park held a two-hour study workshop that opened with a presentation of the harp, a musical instrument new and unfamiliar to the students and teachers both. Most of the workshop was devoted to learning a well known jazz standard - "Cantaloupe Island". This was the center students' first encounter with this musical style. In teaching the tune, Park was assisted by teachers of the center and other musicians, among them Dr. Ruti Katz from the Arts High School in Tel Aviv who has been closely tied with the center for the past year, and Josh Smith, a new immigrant from the United States.

Itamar and Noam - both student musicians from the high school who have already visited the center at Salem several times in the past - also took part in the workshop. In the closing part of the workshop, students at the center played some items from their own repertoire for the guest artist. They were joined by Yusef, the singing barber from Salem and his daughter Shireen (singer and student at the music center) in some Palestinian folk singing.

Park's visit at the Salem Music Center joins a series of visits by musicians from abroad and from Israel. This activity aims to open and widen the musical horizons of the students at the center, raise public awareness of the existence and activity of this small center and create new ties between the center and its teachers and musicians who show interest in them.

Ehud Krinis is a member of the Villages Group.


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