Bridging music and culture


Take it from Calgarians Klementina and Steve Angyalfi, Mount Royal Conservatory’s summer music celebration has become a family tradition.

Morningside Music Bridge, now in its 18th year, relies on area host families to house international exchange students from China, Poland and across Canada during July 2-Aug.1.

For the past four summers, the Angyalfi family becomes home for students of the international exchange program spending the month in Calgary.

This year, they’re keen to welcome another newcomer and keep the tradition going.

“Our first student was from Montreal, and then we had Ann from Norway, and Martyna from Poland. It’s like we adopt a young person for a month, they become a part of our family,” said Klementina.

“We have had some fabulous students. You spend a month, and see how much they grow in that time. Not everyone gets to see that that, to see a future star making such big leaps, the growth is phenomenal and not just musically.”

The young musicians are immersed in an intensive music education program and a new culture at the same time. Host families play a key role in reducing the culture shock.

“If your host student is 14 years old, they might be shy and a bit afraid in a new country, with new language and culture,” said Klementina. “Maybe she is afraid at first to make friends, then after a week they come home and tell you the usual junior high type stuff. It’s the same. But they handle those irritations in more creative ways and more quickly. For example, maybe at first they don’t like their teacher, and then over time, the teacher isn’t so bad, and by the end, that’s their favourite teacher. At Music Bridge, you see that growth in a month instead of a year. It happens so much more quickly.”

It’s not just the students who have a busy month. Host families are responsible for ensuring the students arrive on campus on time and prepared.

Klementina cautions those considering becoming host parents to do so with thoughtfulness. “Consider it seriously, you really do adopt a young person. They are under stress, they are out of their element and they don’t have their regular support system present. You really do have to be conscious of creating an environment that is stable and secure and comfortable.”

Hosting a student is a commitment, but the rewards are numerous.

“It’s a privilege to be in their lives – I love to see the growth in them as people and as musicians.”

Host families receive:

  • $850 for each student.
  • 2 complimentary tickets for every Morningside Music Bridge concert events including the Gala Concert.
  • You and your family are welcome to attend any Morningside Music Bridge program activities such as masterclasses and student concerts. Please note that private lessons are not open to the public.
  • Mount Royal University parking pass for the month of the program.
  • An invitation to the Welcome Reception
  • For those families who are hosting piano students and have a piano, upon request, the Conservatory will arrange for a complimentary tuning for your piano before the workshop.

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