9/15/20- Musical Moments of Hope in Greece
"Just to see [the refugee families] and just to know what that community had been through, to see them finding a little bit of hope and light [through music] was so rewarding." This is what Dr. Erica Rumbley, an accomplished pianist and violinist, said of her experience volunteering with Yazidi refugees in Greece.
The Yazidi community was, and still is, heavily persecuted by ISIS, and many of them were forced to flee their homes. Given her passion for teaching music and helping others, Dr. Rumbley decided to spend a couple of weeks in Greece with Lifting Hands International sharing music in the refugee camps there. She would teach piano and English for several hours, and her favorite moments were when she got to participate musically in the Yazidi culture, taking part in dances and other musical traditions. Dr. Rumbley says, "While musical scales and notes are important, it’s more about fostering human connections...music really is a universal language [that] transcends races, religions, cultures and nationalities." It is clear she has a deep understanding of the profound impact of music on refugee communities and the volunteers that are involved as well. She witnessed music bring smiles to the faces of refugees and inspire positivity across the camp, a power she believes is unique to the arts.
Dr. Rumbley even extended her experience back to the US, saying that she wishes people in her town and cities across America would be more empathetic and understanding to their neighbors, refugees included.