People To People Partners With MTV, Give Back

People to People Ambassador Group will be sending over 100 students to Japan in July for the first time since a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit in 2011. This week, People to People launched the Act for Japan contest in partnership with MTV Act to give away one full tuition travel scholarship.

Platinum selling recording artist and People to People alum Jordin Sparks will act as the final contest judge selecting one student to travel to Japan to provide aid in communities devastated by the 2011 tsunami.

“MTV Act is all about connecting young people with opportunities to take action and celebrating incredible organizations like People to People,” Liza Vadnai, director of public affairs for MTV said in a release. “We’re honored to partner with them on this initiative, and know that this opportunity will be a life-changing experience for the winning student.”Students interested in entering the contest and participating in hands-on service projects through the Spirit of Japan program must submit a video explaining why they love Japan and want to give back by May 18, 2012. Jordin Sparks, who participated on a People to People program to Europe last summer, will select the contest winner. The contest is open to full-time students in junior high and high school ages 13-19. Contest submission details can be found at

“MTV Act is dedicated to helping teens engage and take action. We couldn’t ask for a better partner to work with us to give one deserving student the opportunity to live out their dream by traveling to Japan and giving back to this amazing country,” Peg Thomas, president of People to People Ambassador Programs told Gadling. “Japan was a natural choice to launch our Service in Action programs, which we are organizing as part of our heightened commitment to building a better world through service.”

[Photo by PeopletoPeople]

Musical instrument museum promotes global theme, locally

The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona offers a look at the history of musical instruments from over 200 countries around the world. The interactive collection of instruments tells a story of musicians, instrument makers, recording studios, and musical traditions significant to our shared past, present, and future.

In 2012, the museum has a special focus on American Music. Specifically: music tagged to Arizona. A new exhibit includes artifacts, photographs, and audiovisual content designed to bring the subjects to life and ignite interest in the global, binding nature of music.

Some noteworthy objects in the I Am AZ Music exhibition include the gold dress worn by singer Jordin Sparks during the American Idol finale, instruments played by the Gin Blossoms and a double-neck guitar played by Duane Eddy on Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” in 1960.

Typical of the past/present/future focus of the exhibit is an exact replica of a stage suit worn by rocker Alice Cooper in the 1970s, then also worn during the filming of Dark Shadows, a film slated to be released this year.

Also part of I Am AZ Music is an exhibit on Canyon Records, founded more than 60 years ago by Phoenix media pioneers Ray and Mary Boley, that highlights the production and distribution of Native American music. Another exhibit is dedicated to Floyd Ramsey, whose music studio hosted sessions in the 1950s by Duane Eddy, Waylon Jennings, Wayne Newton, and Alice Cooper.”Country fans will enjoy our tributes to Buck Owens and Waylon Jennings, while jazz enthusiasts are sure to love the exhibit centered on Russell ‘Big Chief’ Moore, a member of the Gila River Indian Community who played trombone with Louis Armstrong” said MIM curator Cullen Strawn.

Musical instrument
manufacturers of today that make Arizona their home are also featured, such as the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery, Navajo-Ute flute maker Aaron White, Yaqui drum and rattle maker Alex Maldonado, White Mountain Banjo Works, Phoenix Guitar Company, classical guitar maker Brian Dunn, and Apache fiddle maker Anthony Belvado.

To make the exhibit interactive, visitors are given wireless headsets to wear throughout the museum. Approaching each display, they can hear the instruments being played, either solo or as an ensemble. Audio and video clips familiarize guests with the unique sounds of each musical culture, allowing them to “share a common experience”, very much the global theme of the Musical Instrument Museum, brought down to local, street level.

“Somewhere, out there, on the farthest rim of the earth, a sound wails into the night” begins this short video from the museum proposing that “from our first breath music is the instrument of the soul”.

The museum is also opening an African Piano exhibit in February that will examine the sanza and its musical tradition among Central and East African story tellers, historians and ceremonial or ritual experts.

Photos courtesy Musical Instrument Museum