New concerts halls at Artistic Lyceum, a dream come true

Prime Minister Edi Rama at meeting with students at Jordan Misja Artistic Lyceum to mark opening of new concerts hall “Tonin Harapi”

Indeed, while climbing the stairs to arrive at this hall, I didn’t understand why we had to walk up the building. I was thinking, Erjon most probably wanted to show me the city of Tirana from the Lyceum building’s roof, but the truth is that an excellent job has been done. The lodge was also spectacular, just like the upper hall for the figurative art students, who certainly feel somehow discriminated in terms of the space as the attic only has been made available to them.

I am most pleased about being here today and open this concerts hall, because I remember well the last time we visited the place to kick off work to reconstruct the Lyceum’s existing building and an open-air concert took place at the schoolyard on that day, because no concerts hall was available. We helped the lyceum to fully equip with new pianos to replace the old ‘heroic” pianos that resisted many years and generations. This all has been already materialized now and obviously a very good job has been done and it is certainly up to those who should care, maintain and leave it in good conditions to the next generation of students.

While entering here, I was also listening to the remarks by the school principal and Tirana Mayor then and memories took me back to times when this was a modest school in infrastructure and condition terms, although it experienced a very difficult period at one point, but the lyceum featured modest conditions.

Extraordinary artists have attended the Artistic Lyceum, the school head teacher said, mentioning Ermonela Jaho, Saimir Pirgu, Inva Mula, and many others. Zana Çela too has attended this school and, although she is not currently performing on stage, she is an important protagonist, serving those who take the stage and the Lyceum has also produced many other artists. It was a modest school in infrastructure terms, but it was full of passion, willingness and strong discipline. I always remember Tedi Papavrami when he was a very little boy, wearing shorts and with his violin in his hand, and always being first to open the school’s door and start rehearsing.

This lyceum is the place full of examples illustrating one simple fact, that a daylight dream may come true. The question is whether one is willing to sacrifice for this dream to come true. If you dream with open eyes and if you have the capacity to imagine your own self in a certain point of the horizon, then you may arrive there, but you should first be willing to make all required sacrifices.

I recall Ermonela Jaho, and of course in this very room there are people who know her quite well, was an ordinary girl, just like any girl part of this chorus today. Many used to tell her she was short, but she kept saying she was to perform at La Scala. They said she was “crazy”, “poor girl doesn’t feel quite well.” She attended this very lyceum and was convinced one day she was to perform at La Scala and didn’t care about anything else. And Ermonela sang at La Scala and every other international stage.

I am telling all these for the young boys and girls who are attending this school because of their passion, the imagination about the musical instrument, their voice and music in their soul. If they dream with open eyes to reach to the top, they should believe and be willing to arrive there. Of course, many fall while walking up to the top, but whoever sees the top and whomever the inner voice tells him or her you can go to the top, then it’s just a matter of readiness, willingness to sacrifice and discipline.

To conclude, I would like to express pleasure and whole respect for the fact that you decided to name the concerts hall after Toni Harapi. It’s a pleasure to meet Harapi’s spouse and his daughter. I knew Toni Harapi when I was very young, but I remember him well, a noble and wise gentleman. Because there are always moments in the life of an artist when he needs a bit of kindness because he faces too high walls to overcome and that create moments of great distrust whether he will or will not succeed. Be sure you’ll succeed. It just takes courage and strength to pursue your dream and willing to render everything onto it.

Thank you!