Nothing brings people together quite like music.
For the touring music troupe The Young Americans the ability of music to transcend cultural boundaries has been the basis of their success.
The California-based non-profit global music outreach organisation was founded in 1962 and is the oldest and largest of its kind in the world.
Mariah Strickland, Johnathan Velez and Shelby Wallace are part of the group, which will be bringing music education to the kids of western Sydney in January through their summer camp program.
“Our main goal is to inspire the world through music with our college program, our youth programs and our concerts,” Mariah said.
The 30 member college-aged cast will present a five day educational program, which includes classes on dancing, singing and theatre performance.
The camp culminates in a two-hour show where students get the chance to perform alongside The Young Americans for their teachers, families, friends and the community.
While music and performing is the focus of the camps, the benefits for students reach far beyond music education.
“We always encourage kids that you don’t have to sing or dance to take this workshop because it’s about so much more,” Shelby said.
“It’s like life skills almost, and just to see the impact that you can have on these kids is definitely the most rewarding part.
“We just want them to grow as people,” Mariah added.
“Yes there’s the singing, acting and dancing but it’s really just about them as people being more confident.”
Along with the satisfaction that comes with seeing students flourish, The Young Americans cast also gets to travel the world doing what they love.
“I’ve been to Japan, all over Europe, the United States and now Australia,” Shelby said.
“You get immersed in the culture right away.”
With travel also comes new experiences and plenty of new people to meet.
“When we travel we stay in different people’s house and it’s the best experience,” Johnathan said.
The Young Americans will be running their five day camp at St Paul’s Grammar School in Cranebrook from Monday, January 16 to Friday, January 20 as part of their world tour. Registration is $450. Visit www.youngamericans.org/youth-program/australia for more information.