Understanding through Music
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“Understanding through Music,” Ensign, Sept. 1995, 69

Understanding through Music

David and Teresa Doolittle likely will never see the name “Condor” in lights. But they do often find the name of their two-member multicultural band scratched in crayon on a sidewalk. The audiences for the duet’s performances are relatively small—under five feet tall on the average. But to more than fifty thousand California schoolchildren, Condor ranks right up there with their favorite cartoon and peanut butter sandwiches.

Members of the Twenty Nine Palms Ward in the Yucca Valley California Stake, Brother and Sister Doolittle have played at hundreds of schools throughout California. Their “Musical Tour of Latin America” program doesn’t just entertain. While the children listen to fascinating music, they also learn about caring for the environment, the need for understanding and appreciating different cultures, world geography, positive thinking, and how nature plays an important role in the music of societies throughout the world. By the end of the program, children have seen more than twenty-five rare and historic instruments and heard tales of South American and Native American folklore. They might also have learned how to make a Pan flute from soda straws.

“We want to bring peace and understanding through music and culture,” says Sister Doolittle, a native of Uruguay. “Everything we say and do on stage is meant to present young people with a positive image and a positive message.”

Brother Doolittle plays more than a dozen instruments, but since he was nine years old, the guitar has been his favorite. “I have always felt that music has a profound effect on people,” he explains. “We’ve seen the negative effect all too often. Teresa and I want to create beautiful music.”—John St. Ray, Joshua Tree, California