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In 2003, the Muscatine Children's and Youth Choirs initiated an exchange program with youth in war-torn Gjakova, Kosovo. The exchange, now known as the Muscatine Kosovo Project, is guided by one simple philosophy. Music is the common language that bridges all ethnic and cultural divides.

In five short years, the Muscatine Kosovo Project has changed hundreds of lives and produced a lifetime of memories and friendships.

  • In 2004 and 2006, young musicians of the Kosovo Children's Music Initiaitve (KCMI), part of the Shropshire Music Foundation, spent two weeks in Iowa living, rehearsing, and performing with the Muscatine Children's and Youth Choirs.
  • In 2005, 32 Muscatine choir members and adults spent two weeks in Gjakova, Kosovo. They offered English, art, choral and instrumental music, and craft classes. They also organized health clinics, eye clinics, and other maintenance and construction services.
  • Since 2004, six KCMI youth have attended Muscatine High School (as Rotary Scholars) and/or Muscatine Community College. Two more KCMI students will be at MHS for the 2008-2009 school year.
From July 13 to July 29, 2008, 37 Muscatine choir members and adults will once again be doing music and service projects in Gjakova, Kosovo.

Follow the trip here through the 2008 project blog and Twitter updates. (Also see our 2004-05 blog and our 2006 blog.)

Special thanks to the people of Muscatine and elsewhere who have helped make this trip possible!

*Created by Tom Porter and Hasan Pasha