Turkey Bell Choir News Updates
April 9, 2012
We arrived back in Clearwater about 1:00 a.m. this morning. All members of the team and their luggage are safe and accounted for. Our hearts and minds
are full of gratitude and amazement for what our Father did in us and through us in Istanbul and Bursa, Turkey this past week.
On Thursday morning we were privileged to tour a 600 year old authentic Ottoman village. The rough cobblestone streets and the dark, worn faces of the
people tell of a simple and difficult life. Many of them earn their income from selling their homemade wares to visitors. Their weaving and
woodworking are beautiful examples of their artistry. Some of us purchased a few things that we would love to show you.
In the afternoon we went back to the city's Cultural Center and set up the bells for the rehearsal and concert. The children we worked with on
Tuesday afternoon and the city's children's choir came to rehearse as they were going to play and ring with us in the evening concert. The concert began
at 6:30 p.m. and the 800 seat auditorium was full. The concert went very well, praise the Lord. The children from the intercity center were so proud of
themselves. I am sure they had never, nor probably
will ever again, be able to participate in such an important event. I know the audience was thrilled these children had this opportunity. The beautiful
children's choir from the city also sang and rang with us. The audience asked for an encore of the Turkish folk song Ali Babanin Çiftligi (their
version of Old MacDonald Had a Farm). We were ready, complete with our live version of Farmer Ali Baba (Dr. Golson). The audience sang with us
and they cheered with delight at the end. It made a very special ending to a very special concert.
After the concert we went out for coffee and dessert with our Uludag University friends and had a sweet time of sharing what the week meant to us all.
They gave us gifts and precious tokens of their love. The bonds of friendship we were able to make truly are nothing short of miraculous.
Early Friday morning we left Bursa and took the ferry back to Istanbul. Though we were tired physically, we were energized by the excitement of the week.
We spent most of the day walking around the city. We shopped at the Egyptian and spice bizarres and ate fresh fish sandwiches straight off the boat in the
There's so much more we could share with you about our trip. Here is what one of our Bell Choir members said on our
Uludag University/Clearwater Christian College
"My body is in the US but my heart is still in Turkey. This was one of the most amazing weeks of my life. It's so hard to even put it into words. I made
such great friends in only 4 days of being together. We shared
music and languages and cultures and laughs and memories. So many wonderful memories!
I cannot wait until we get to do it again! I love and miss my new
Turkish family!" Thank you for partnering with us in this short but very fruitful endeavor. We
left part of our hearts in Turkey and we look forward to returning, if possible.
For the team,
April 5, 2012
Not in our wildest dreams could we have imagined what has taken place here in Bursa, Turkey. It's Thursday morning, our last day with our dear friends at
Uludag University. We did not know when we came that my professor friend had arranged for 12 of her students to accompany us all day, every day while we are
here. These are the same friends we have been corresponding with on Facebook. These students have become like family to us. They have helped us carry luggage,
translate, answer questions, and have served us however needed. Several of them have joined in ringing our easy pieces with us and they love playing bells!
I gave a Kodaly music education workshop yesterday morning and then we gave a concert for the Uludag U. students. The music was very well received. They
thanked us over and over for coming to share the bells with them. As I mentioned earlier, our concert last night was in the Bursa Protestant Church. (That we
were playing in a sister church in the city is a miraculous story which we'll share when we return.) The leaders of the church did not have any idea how many
people would attend. People began filling the church 30 minutes ahead of time. They added plastic chairs, then added little tables for the people to sit on,
then let them stand along the edges. I don't think we could have fit more people into that beautiful little church. The leader said they had never had so
many people come to their church. He was so grateful for this opportunity to let the city know about their church.
Today we visit an historic Ottoman village and then give a concert in the city's Cultural Center auditorium. The auditorium seats 800. The city's children's
choir will be singing with us as well as the group of children we worked with on Tuesday afternoon.
Many, many thanks for your thoughts and support.
For the team,
April 4, 2012
Word is coming back in to the College that the CCC Bell Choir is a 'big hit.' Their performances and interactions with Uludag University is making the
school's website. View this link: http://www.uludag.edu.tr/haberler/oku/dn/375 for the most recent article and to see pictures of our group. NOTE: These articles are
not in English and internet translation is not perfect.
April 3, 2012
It is early Tuesday morning. Our trip is not even half over and it already feels like our "cup of blessings" is almost full! We have been
overwhelmed with His goodness and His working on our behalf while here in Turkey. We had two wonderful meetings with our brothers and sisters on Sunday.
Our team will never view Sunday meetings the same. In the morning we met with a Turkish gathering. Sunday night we met with an international gathering.
These are the nationalities represented that we could remember: Nigerian, Iranian, Turkmenistan, Sweden, Finish, Azerbaijan, Russian, Turkish, and Pakistani.
Both gatherings really appreciated the beauty and music of the bells. The leaders of these meetings wept with gratitude that we would come with all our
equipment all the way from the U.S. to play for them. (The magnitude of our luggage and equipment is somewhat comical...We fill up 8 taxi's with people
and bags.) Of course our coming to Turkey would not have been possible without so many of you in the U.S. On behalf of the Turkish people, we thank you
Yesterday (Monday) was a long but wonderful day. The day began with an early morning ferry ride to Bursa across the Marmara Sea. Our hostess met us
at the ferry port with a beautiful Uludag University bus. What a blessing to have a vehicle big enough for the whole group and our 24+ pieces of
luggage! Our welcome at the university was a sweet reunion with the friends we have been making on our Facebook page. They greeted us with a big
WELCOME sign. (That it was in English was a special gift - complete with a little American flag!). We had a sweet time of introductions and getting
to know each other, although it really felt like we were seeing old friends. We were treated to a delicious lunch at the university dining hall then
given a tour of important places in the city center.
In the afternoon we presented and demonstrated the bells 3 times to various groups in the city's cultural center. Bursa is the 4th largest city in the
country. Some 4 million people live in this town just below the Uludag Mountain. We had a meeting with the president of the city council. He graciously
arranged dinner for us at the mayor's personal dining hall and we enjoyed a sumptuous Turkish meal. We think they closed the hall just for us as we were the
only party in the building!
At 8:00 the night was still young...we then went back to the cultural center and presented and demonstrated the bells for the city's polyphonic choir. It
was an amazing 2 hours of exchanging culture and music. They sang for us, we played for them, and then we taught them a song in which several of them rang
bells with us. They sang their national anthem for us and we sang ours for them. (We had not rehearsed this, but amazingly we came out with 4-part harmony
and even the high Ab near the end!) Back and forth this sharing of music and goodwill went on until 10:00 p.m. Their rehearsal normally ends at 9:00 but they
didn't want to stop! (Neither did we!)
Even though we had a long, wonderful day, it was not over! We then went to a caged soccer field and the students (and Dr. G., of course) played an hour game
with our student-friends in a 40-something degree temperature. Even though those of us on the sidelines turned into popsicles, it was great fun for all. We have a
beautiful picture of the teams that we will share when we get back. We headed back to our campus housing after midnight and dropped into bed with full and
This morning Dr. G. and I give conducting workshops to the music students at the university, and this afternoon we go back to the city center to play and teach
bells to intercity children. I've been told their families are refugees from Iraq. We look forward to another amazing day.
Thank you so much for your love and thoughts. He certainly has gone before us and prepared these opportunities for us.
For the Bells for Bursa team,
March 29, 2012
Dr. Golson called in today and they have arrived safely in Turkey. There were greeters at the airport, and all luggage/bells are accounted for.
Everyone is doing well. It is raining today, but it has not stopped them from seeing the sights. Please continue to keep them in your thoughts.