Friday, December 17, 2010

Concert and a cause

Tomorrow night at 8 p.m., the 17th annual Rob Mathes Christmas Concert will be held at the Palace Theatre — this is the first time the concert has been performed in Stamford (it has been at the Performing Arts Center in Purchase for the past 16 years). In addition to the concert, a very special photo exhibit will be on display in the lobby of the Palace during the concert and will be the beneficiary of the Rob Mathes Christmas Concert.

Through the Eyes of Children: The Rwanda Project was founded by a Greenwich resident, David Jiranek (1958-2003), ten years ago. David was the original person to go to Rwanda and teach orphaned children there photography to help them deal with the grief of the genocide. David’s approach was different though – he didn’t want to see the sadness of the country, but rather the hope for the future — through the children’s eyes. Many of the children were orphaned by the 1994 genocide in their country. Provided with cameras and a chance to express themselves through photography, the children’s work is visually stunning and informative, providing the viewer with a window into their lives. Initially, the pictures were developed locally, displayed on the orphanage walls and put into photo albums by the children. During the past 10 years, the photographic work created by these 19 children has been exhibited around the world and has received a number of awards.

Through the Eyes of Children: The Rwanda Project has been a very successful program, with a traveling exhibit of the children’s photographs being shown at the United Nations (for the 10th anniversary remembrance of the Rwandan genocide), at the Hart Senate Building in Washington, DC, at NYU, at the Holocaust Museums in Houston & Naples, Fla., in Alaska, Canada, Belgium, England, France, and many, many more places, including the New York and LA premiere of the movie Hotel Rwanda.

This will be the third time the Rwanda Project has been showcased at Rob’s Christmas Concert. However, instead of just showcasing the children’s photographs (which will be exhibited at The Palace), the concert is a benefit to raise funds to help send the 19 “photo kids” from the Imbabazi Orphanage in Rwanda to University.

The concert begins at 8 p.m.; doors open at 7:30 pm.

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