Friday 7 February 2014

An inspirational visit to Belarus by Lorenzo Iannotti

The journey begins...

Six months ago, I was approached by two friends of mine, Michelle (Bloom Entertainment by Design) and Jun (Blue Sky Talent Company) with the idea of a joint charity/music adventure that involved me going to Belarus for a music tour. 

Blue Sky Talent Company is a profit for charity business providing music programs to local orphanages, boarding homes and hospices in Belarus. My time in Belarus would be spent performing for the marginalised community of Belarus, teaching master classes and promotion. After much preparation and excitement the ball was set in motion.

Two important things took place in the next 6 months...


In consultation with Bloom Entertainment by Design we decided to hold a fundraising ball to raise money for the work that Blue Sky Talent Company provides.  On October 11 2013, we had an amazing turn out of around 150 attendees, including Jun from Blue Sky Talent Company at the fundraising initiative Bloom to Belarus - the night was filled with amazing performers donating their time.  A combination of talented performers, auction items and the huge generosity of family, friends and colleagues made the night a great success and we were able to raise almost $10,000 in funds.

Secondly, I decided to write and record a song dedicated to the work done by Blue Sky Talent Company. The song 'Blue Sky Angels' has a two-fold message in its lyrics - to tell the story of the pain and suffering the community has ensured through the lingering effects of war and to recognise the amazing work that Blue Sky Talent Company provide to support local orphanages, boarding homes and hospices. 'Blue Sky Angels' is now available to purchase on ITunes.

10 Days... 100 new experiences!

I flew to Belarus looking forward to the opportunity to sing and have a few new experiences along the way. The experiences I had in the short time I was there were life changing... 

I have gained the ability to see the real power and strength of music - the way it can touch a little child’s soul, the way it can make someone smile for the first time in years, the way their joy can bring me to tears.

Chevron Boarding Home

The first charity I attended was at Cherven boarding home for people with disabilities, located 60 kms from Minsk. The visit was organized by Sergey Dougal. I had an amazing experience meeting over 300 residents and staff. To say my first charity visit was an eye opener, is an understatement. I was instantly touched by the children and their stories and amazed by the care and support provided by the staff at the boarding home. My lesson for today... music and touch - two very special human gifts!

Novinski Boarding Home

Novinki boarding home was also a home for children with a disability. It was beautiful to see how captivated the children were by music - I felt so connected to them as they danced and jumped to the songs I performed. As they clapped, and demanded I sing more and more songs, it was the most touching request for an encore I have ever received. I was also fortunate to sing a duet with the director of Novinki which received a beautiful reception by both residents and staff.

Tarasiki Boarding Home

These guys can dance - encore after encore after encore!  They couldn't get enough of the music, and in all honesty, I couldn't get enough of them! What an inspiring, creative, fun day full of laughter, music and lots of dancing!!! .

Kull Boarding Home

What an amazing place Kull Boarding home is, no sitting down here!  Wheelchairs dancing around, residents surrounding me on the dance floor - I absolutely loved the freedom of being able to run through the aisles of residents, singing and dancing with the crowd - what an amazing sense of freedom and pride!

Belarus Children's Hospice

WOW... this was a hard day for me, but probably the most rewarding.  I feel so blessed to have met these courageous, strong, inspiring children - and their families and hospice staff were like guardian angels. I had brought some gifts from Australia and gave these out to the children and staff whilst I was visiting and singing in the rooms at the hospital. Through their smiles, inspirational stories and inner strength these children gave me a gift that will live in me forever! They taught me to value every second of life, cherish your loved ones and live for today!

Master Classes, Key Note Speaker and Media Appearances

On a professional level I was able to achieve many things in Belarus.

The master classes, keynote speaking and performance nights provided me with the opportunity to facilitate an environment for both experienced performers and individuals who have only dreamt of performing.  The events focused on providing the opportunity to practice, perform and increase skills and experience in the art of singing and performing. 

It was also a great experience to be invited to speak and represent Australia in the different facets of International media which focused on me discussing my journey as a performer, my dreams and my future work endeavours.

My visit to Belarus has come to an end... for now!

The days were very long, yet I woke up each morning with an energy I haven't felt in years... I couldn’t wait for each day to unfold and to open myself up to Belarus, its culture and its people. 

I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity, feel so blessed to be apart of the amazing work Blue Sky Talent Company is doing and humbled by every feeling, thought and experience that was placed before me. A trip of a lifetime is an understatement. I have met people I thought did not exist, I have been touched by these invisible people and held the hands of the strongest little angels of Belarus... 

This is not goodbye, just a thank you - I will be back xxx