April 4 – 13 the Jazz Department of Riga Cathedral Choir School had an honor and a pleasure to host two exchange students from Neue Jazzshool Munich (Germany) – Ramona Doser (vocal) un Pablo Yannis Jókay (drums).
Here you can read their description about exchange experience in Riga:
When our principal Franz-David Baumann told us we would fly to Riga and participate in an exchange program we were very surprised. We have never been in Latvia before and did some research – Do you pay with the Euro? How big is Riga? Is it by the seaside?
We didn´t know much about our trip, except that we would spend our nights at the school, eat at the school cafeteria and that we would have a schedule with all the lessons that we would visit. So, naturally, we were very excited what would expect us.
The Rīgas Doma kora skola turned out to be a tall building with seven floors (much bigger than what we were used to at our school), so in the first few days we got lost sometimes.
We met Tālis (head of the Jazz-Department) and Kristīne (our always helpful contact person during our stay) who gave us our personal schedule and showed us our guest rooms in the second floor. Later that day we visited the Samba-workshop by Markku Rinta-Pollari, a teacher from Finland who participated in another exchange program at the same time as we did.
In the course of the week we visited many lessons (special thanks to Tālis, who held around 7 great private lessons in just 10 days!), the students and the teachers were always communicative and nice, and also very interested in the Neue Jazzschool Munich.
As it turned out there are actually some differences between our school and the Rīgas Doma kora skola. Maybe the main difference is that you have students from grade 1 to 13, however everyone who has graduated can visit our school. So most of the people were very surprised when we told them that we have students in the second year from age 17 to 34. Also our school is designed to only take two years (with an optional third one).
Maybe the biggest highlight of our stay was the Riga Jazz Stage which took place exactly when we were in Riga, what a happy coincidence! Also many thanks for being so generous and getting us tickets for all three evenings!
It was especially exciting to see three students of the Rīgas Doma kora skola in the finals and superfinals, again congratulations to all three of them! The musical level of the participants, the Latvian rhythm section and the Charenee Wade Quartet (Charenee Wade was a member of the jury) really blew our minds. Thank you again for this great opportunity, and for three beautiful and inspiring evenings!
One evening one of us went to a jamsession while the other one was at a heavy metal concert, which really showed us the musical diversity of Riga, but we did not only enjoy the musical side of Riga, we also liked the city itself very much. Especially the old town had a very special flair, the beautiful view Kristīne showed us high up from a hotel was really impressive, and we also enjoyed the Kalnciema market near the school.
On Sunday we visited the seaside, it only took us about half an hour to get there, an even if the water was way too cold we still had a beautiful evening there.
All in all this exchange program was a big success and a really great experience, that we will remember for a long time!
Ramona & Pablo
At the end of this exchange program we organized a special concert – Jazz evening of Riga Cathedral Choir School in jazz club “Trompete” with the participation of students from all the study years, including Ramona and Pablo. Here you can find the video of the concert:
April 4 to 8 Riga Cathedral Choir School hosted also a guest teacher – Markku Rinta-Pollari from Jyväskylä college in Finland. He held workshops in samba music for our students and teachers. Here you can find a little insight video from introduction workshop (April 4) and practical workshop with 2nd year combo (April 6) where also Ramona and Pablo participated: