Warm appreciation for Aysenur Kolivar in Plymouth, IN

By Lindajoy Fenley

Midwesterners offered warm responses to the Turkish ensemble throughout this October–November tour. Here is just a small selection of the support that the group has received.

Illinois college students sent e-mail messages after the workshops on campus. In Michigan, one of the Turkish-Americans who flocked to the public concert at the end of the week had previously brought homemade food to our lodging and invited the group to her home for more. In Ohio, the local organizers treated us to a scrumptious restaurant dinner plus a music jam at one of their homes.

During the fourth and final week in Indiana, appreciative responses continued to embrace the group. At Bremen Elementary, students gave their thanks in writing.

After a coffee break between workshops at Bremen Elementary, we found a pile of letters on a chair when we returned to the gymnasium. Each began: “Dear The Band from Turkey.” Several had carefully drawn pencil portraits of Onur, Aysenur, Alpay, and Tolga and were signed with the words sincerely, yours truly, and even your friend.

They described the experience as unique or cool:

“Thank you for spending time with us. I loved the way you sang the songs. I loved all the instruments… I liked how they each had their own unique sound.”

“I liked your music and your beat to the music. Your instruments were really cool.”

They complimented the group’s skill:

“I think you’re the best band I’ve ever heard that is from a different country. …Today I had the best experience ever. My music teacher would have loved to hear the beautiful voices and songs. Your voices are very unique.”

“I love that you can sing really good. You are the best band I know and you are really good at being a band. I think you are the best band ever.”

“I love your songs so much they should be in television. I want to practice your instruments.”

They wrote about dancing…

“I liked dancing with you. It was fun.”

“Thank you for letting us danc (sic) with you.”

…and the songs and instruments.

“I think that your band is good at singing, playing the drums and the accordion. I also liked the other stuff you play. “

“Why is the backpipe (sic) made out of goat. That’s just discusting (sic).”

“Being with you was a lot of fun… I thought all of tradition, culture and instruments were AMAZING, yet interesting again. I had a great time. Hope you did too.”

They wrote about the Turkish language:

“I’ve never heard a Turkish person speak before. The Turkish language is very, very unique.”

“I really liked learning how to speak Turkish.”

“Why did you speak Turkey during the songs.”

“I liked the names of your songs.”

“Can I just say that your band is amzing (sic). What language do you guys know?”

“Thank you for coming and teaching us you’re music and you’re dancing and you’re language and now I can tell my family how to speak terkish (sic) and that’ because of you’re help.”

The feeling of gratitude was clear.

“Thanks you guys for teaching us all abot (sic) the itrmints (sic) and thanks for playing music.”

The students also wanted to offer give something back. Four young boys who had enjoyed learning a Turkish dance asked if they could perform an American dance for the ensemble.

When the Bremen students found out that Tuesday was Alpay’s birthday, they asked for permission to sing “Happy Birthday” for him. Later, when they were on the playground, the students rushed to greet Alpay and Onur as they walked back to the school from the Mean Bean Coffee Shop.

Aysenur Kolivar and her ensemble are truly making friends all across the Midwest!

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