3 July 2009

report visit Mitrovica Rock School May 2009

Dear MRS-bloggers!

Sorry for the delay of this report...it's due to a busy schedule on my part. But...at least now we can relive some good moments even 2 months after our visit ;)
Have fun reading it and feel free to leave comments!


Thursday 21th

At 8 am we have an early take off in the morning from Schiphol Airport Amsterdam. Especially early in terms for musicians! So after a quiet start and some coffee we headed to Mitrovica where we arrived at 3 pm. We are so happy to have sun after all the rainy days in Holland (though we're already complaining about the heat the next day…sissies as we are..;). After unpacking at the hotel we have our first reunion with the coaches and some of the students at both north and south side. This is really amazing, feels like almost a week ago we last saw them!
This first day we can’t do much work yet, but making plans and seeing everyone is already enough for a start! And of course getting introduced to the SOHO-bar were we will spend some late night sessions after a day of work...

Friday 22th

Our first day of real work! Sharing our first impression and making a schedule for the week at breakfast.

We decide to split up our team so we have 1 group to work all day at south and one group to work all day at North. We switch teams next day. This way we use our time as efficient as possible.

It was the first day to meet all of the students and to watch them rehearsing with their bands. Some we already met in Skopje, and we are really surprised by so much progress!! It was especially great to get a first real impression of the Mitrovica Rock School. There’s a lot of hard work going on and so much achieved in such a short time! And most of all, we only see enthusiastic motivated youngsters making music… It gives a lot of energy we take back with us to the hotel for dinner, where both teams share their experiences.

In the evening we gather to plan workshops to give for instrumental lessons in co-operation with the Rock School coaches. We make a plan, as we already know that most of it probably will be rescheduled every day... but it’s good to have a plan anyway so we have something to reschedule :).
But…fortunately during the rest of the week this seems not as bad as expected, most of what was scheduled actually happened! This is new for us ;)

Saturday 23th

Today we have meetings with the coaches for the plans we made. We share our visions and decide what we’re gonna work on and how we’re gonna do it. For instance, workshops will be given. There is need for singing lessons aimed at techniques in rock music, guitar lessons, drum lessons. After the meetings we switch teams to visit the schools to contribute to the band coaching. After today we all have a more complete vision about the situation at the whole school. Real bands have been formed and there’s a big dedication towards their bands by the students. There’s an eager to grow as a musician, to learn as much as they can and to work hard for it. It’s also good to see how some bands have created their own MySpace’s etc. to promote themselves!

Of course we’re here to taste something more of the local culture as well, how to do that better than to have dinner at Bobby’s place. Bobby’s a friend of Milos, who invited us there. He has a
very nice place just outside of Mitrovica where we all sit down in a garden and have some
wine, beer and traditional goulash for dinner. Lovely evenig!!

Bobby joins us with his guitar and plays some songs, while a bunch of drunken baseball fans inside his cafĂ©, are gazing at the TV-screen for a match. This all goes together with occasionally shouting-laughing-hugging-boohoo’s until a point where we all question the fact if the TV will survive. But it all adds to a great atmosphere! We have a great time and end up playing and singing some songs for Bobby as well, who is determined to meet us again. Whenever there’s a next visit, I’m sure we will!

Sunday 24th

For today the coaches from the south have invited us for a visit to Prizren, an old town in south Kosovo, 2,5 hour drive from Mitrovica. We leave around 11 o’clock which is a bit early for some of us after a long night (I will mention no names;), but we’re all looking forward to this trip and to see something more of Kosovo besides Mitrovica. Prizren’s said to be a beautiful town, so we’re excited to see it!

But before we get there a hilarious trip is waiting for us! We took off by 3 cars for a beautiful drive. Once on the road our car seemed not to be working as well as we hoped… the engine decided to quit on the highway. Our dear driver Erhan tries to get it back to work, but nothing helps. Although we’re stuck on a highway we’re still having good laughs about it! The others came back for us and after taking some pictures of this historical moment (thank you for that, we look sooo good this morning, again I will mention no names;), they took the car to the garage. We're about to be picked up later, but decide to take a walk to the shopping centre along the road where we'll all meet to have a drink. A nice walk for sightseeing…again a lot of fun, this is the best group to have car troubles with!

After having coffee Edon arranged a new third car and we’re taking off for the second part. All together the drive takes a lot longer than planned, which gives us only little time to spend in Prizren, but the trip makes it all worthwhile. We have a beautiful view in the mountains and get to see so much more of the landscape in Kosovo.

To make this day really perfect we get rain and storm when we arrive in Prizren….but how refreshing this is! We have a walk along the Drin, the river that crosses through this town. We found a nice place where we’re having drinks and dinner and more good laughs. Unfortunately for this trip, we can’t stay long because tonight we’re going to the concert of the students in north.
And how smoothly this way back goes in contrast to coming there!

21.00 u: Concert North!

The students at north side prepared a performance for tonight at Club Viva. The students rehearsed for this show quite a while so it’s pretty exciting for everyone. The stage looks great, and the club is really crowded, so all terms are there for a great show. And they’re really making it happen!
Audience was going wild, so that couldn’t be better…!

Monday 25th

Tonight the students from south will perform in Pristina, so another great night is ahead of us! We leave by bus from the school where the party begins. Some are doing some last vocal rehearsals (I believe I never heard this amount of sound at the same time on a bus), but most are making pictures with everyone from everyone…some model careers are hitting of here! But as we expected music careers are showing of more potential: it turns out to be another great night with great performances! Music talents are developing in Mitrovica…!

Another club crowded with fans is going wild and the jam session afterwards is a beautiful closure for this night.

Tuesday 26th

After these nights everyone is waking up with some adrenaline left in their veins, so enough energy left for our last day in Mitrovica. Today we’re giving a guitar and vocal workshop at the south, where the guys also bring some changes to the installation of the rehearsal room. The set up is now placed in a way they will have more benefit of the sound, in addition they will rehearse in a better position to work on performance. Roland has been working on some drum skills at north.

In the night we say our goodbyes at both schools. This week has gone too fast!! We all hope to go back… For now we have our last drink at the Soho bar, and then off to the airport…

We all agree: this has been a great week with great music and great people…, Mitrovica rocks!

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