2019 Pilot Program
In September 2019 George Francois and Sally Singer-Tuttle launched a 10-day pilot music Institute that included string and piano masterclasses, as well as several well-attended instrumental and vocal performances. They were joined in this endeavor by violinist Cristina Ruotolo, a Fulbright Scholar from the University of San Francisco, who happened to be in Ghana teaching literature at the University of Ghana. Coincidentally, Ruotolo had independently begun working with a group of young professional string players, and was herself laying the groundwork for a summer chamber music workshop offering intensive training.
Over the course of two weeks Sally, Cristina and George worked with local classical musicians in various settings, including private lessons, master classes, and orchestral rehearsals. They donated instrument parts to aspiring young musicians with limited private means, and performed at three different venues in Accra. The final concert was presented in the ballroom of the Kempinski Hotel in Accra, to a packed house, audience. It was a fund-raiser for the New Horizon Special School, and was co-sponsored by the Australian High Commission and the Kempinsky Hotel.
The pilot project in September 2019 was a privately funded enterprise. It would not have been possible without the incredible support of many people, chief among them being pianist Mr. Julius Richardson of GeniusHive, Ghana, and Mrs. Teresa Barnes of the Australian High Commission in Ghana.
In every respect, Sally, Cristina and George considered this pilot endeavor to have been tremendously successful and to have generated a significant buzz among both the musicians and Ghanaian audiences. They, along with Teresa Barnes, decided to join forces to present an annual teaching summer music Institute in Ghana, and to develop a number of supporting programs for the Institute. These initiatives would fall under the existing NGO Sankusem, with Cristina and Teresa joining Sally and George on its board of managing directors.