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September 15, 2004

Deaf Children, Music School In Mirgorod To Be Visited

From: Randolph Herald, VT - Sep 15, 2004

The latest visit to Randolph's sister of Mirgorod, Ukraine, was begun yesterday, when Dr. Milton Fowler, his son Ben, and Randy Garner left to spend nearly a week in the southeast Ukraine city.

Mirgorod, a city of about 50,000 has had a fruitful exchange program begun several years ago by former Town Manager Gwen Hallsmith. The pleasant city is famous for its mineral waters and for being the home of legendary writer Gogol, and like Randolph it boasts a water bottling plant.

The Sister City relationship has been especially nourished by the Randolph Rotary Club, which has sent two truck-sized containers of hospital equipment and has provided hearing aids for every child in the Mirgorod School for the Deaf, which numbers about 150.

This year's delegation will return to that school with a year's supply of batteries, and will determine if the program is working well. The Fowlers and Garner will also visit other sites that have become familiar to Randolph people—the noted ceramics museum, a Jewish Center and Baptist church, the water plant, and other locations. They will stay with two physicians who have previously visited Randolph.

A special focus this year is the Mirgorod Music School, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary and asked the Randolph visitors to be part of it. Through the generosity of the Rotary Club, Bethany Church, and several individuals, a donation of more than $1500 will be made to help purchase equipment, music and instruments for the school–which until two years ago didn't even have a CD player.

There are 50 teachers at the school, which is attended by about 400 students from 7-14, attending after their regular school is over. Both classical and traditional Ukrainian music is taught.

The school will also be presented with CDs of music composed and performed in Randolph, as well as CDs and T-shirts donated at the New World Festival.

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