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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow TOUR COMBINES MUSIC, MEDICINE



By The Observer

The Eastern Oregon University Chamber Choir will perform Friday night, a few days before stepping onto a plane and heading to Ecuador on a mission involving music and medicine.

The concert, A Tour to Ecuador, will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday in McKenzie Theatre.

Tickets are $5 for adults $3 for students and senior citizens. They can be purchased at Sunflower Books, the EOU Bookstore or at the door.

The concert will include a public presentation of supplies and money collected by members of La Grandes two Rotary clubs.

Forty-two choir members, conductor Peter Wordelman, and several community members will travel to Ecuador from March 21 through April 2. The choir will be rehearsing with other university students from Ecuador. Their tour will include performances in the cities of Manta, Puerto Lopez, Tena and Otovalo.

One of the main events will be an outreach tour to Puerto Lopez in Planchaloma. The village area of about 5,000 people is in the Andean region, about 80 kilometers from the capital, Quito.

The trip will be a learning opportunity as well as a chance for our students to interact with children, Wordelman said.

The program itself, called The Andean Music Project, is run by the public health department at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito.

The event will include the donation of medical supplies, writing supplies and two guitars, as well as performances and a series of workshops that the EOU students will present to elementary children. The workshops will include music, art, theater, English, and physical education.

Both the La Grande noon and breakfast Rotary Clubs have raised $4,200 to provide

medicine for children suffering from skin diseases in the Ecuadoran village.

The original goal was to raise $3,600 but the clubs surpassed that, said Bob Rainville, a Rotarian who will be going on the trip with his wife, Suzanne.

We had initially hoped to treat 100 children, Rainville said. But we discovered that by buying the medicine in Ecuador, it would be less expensive than here and we could treat 350 children for six months.

The medicine might be adequate to eradicate the disease among the children, Rainville added.

Rotarians have provided various other supplies for the mission including vinyl gloves for the people administering the medicine, 250 dental kits that include toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss, and hundreds of balloons for the children, Rainville said.

Two guitars also will be donated to the village so children can learn some of the traditional music of their people.

Polaroid film is being provided to give the children instant images of themselves.

Wordelman, his wife, Lisa Ladendorff, and Dr. Michael McQueen are leading the team. Steve Ryman, Norm Shrumm, and Swannee Herman will accompany them.

McQueen, a La Grande physician, will lead the effort to treat children for impetigo and scabies. The very irritating skin diseases exist at epidemic levels among village children.

Rainville spoke of the significance of the effort.

It is a remarkable event that would not be possible except for Peter Wordelman, the choir, Dr. McQueen and the members of the Rotary clubs, he said.


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