Students from different school-orchestras of the province and city of Buenos Aires gave the last concert of the “School orchestras week” at the Usina del Arte, an initiative organized by the Argentine Solidarity Art Center (CASA) to “make the work visible, promote musical education and guarantee the continuity of these spaces” in popular neighborhoods, with a repertoire that includes popular, academic, movie and even video game music.
It is the first time that John Calla (12) is part of a concert and is the first in his family to become a musician. John lives with his mother, his father and his younger brother in the village 1-11-14 and has been attending theThe neighborhood school-orchestra located in the Madre del Pueblo churchwhere he learned to play the violin thanks to the teachers at CASA.
“When I play the violin I feel liberated,” the boy told Télam, adding: “I feel that I am free and that no one can judge me. The orchestra is a place where I can relax.”
Around 9 o’clock, about 20 members of the Bajo Flores Orchestra They met at that venue, where they learned and rehearsed every Saturday thanks to the free music classes for children and adolescents organized by the civil association, which also gives each student instruments on loan, so that they can continue practicing at home. .
In this orchestra-school that has existed for more than ten years, students learn piano, guitar, violin, trumpet, trombone, horn, flute, clarinet, percussion, keyboards, singing, among other artistic skills.
“It takes time to learn to play -said John- but with dedication everything is possible, I go every Saturday, the teachers are good, they teach you little by little, and I rehearse every day at home”, he added.
For her part, her mother Graciela Morales (32), who is dedicated to sewing, said that the orchestra is important so that “the boys are not in the street” and shared his concern with Télam: “We live in a place where drugs are very close, and there are people who are already looking at the children as if they were fishing. So that they don’t have that life, it is better that they be busy, and I like the orchestra.
At the same time, he valued that given the economic situation that the loan of the instrument “makes learning much easier”, and the school is a place “very supportive for children and families” that always helps them but above all it was fundamental in the pandemic when they did not have a job.
At 10 in the morning, the students and their teachers left the Church in a school bus for the Usina del Arte, where they gave a free concert, which for many was the first of their lives.
On the bus trip, each one carried their instrument with care and great responsibility. Some were quiet and focused, and others sang and chatted.
At the Usina they performed a wide repertoire as professionals, among them, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy; Sariri, an Andean music; “Can Can” for the opera Orfeo by Offenbach and the chacarera “Puente carrotero” by Los Carabajal.
Before starting the chacarera, Geraldine Lara (19) demonstrated the power of her “perfect pitch” and went to the front on the imposing stage of the main auditorium to start the group tuning with her violin.
“Having absolute pitch means recognizing which note any sound belongs to, not just music,” he explained.
The young woman, who lives in Bajo Flores near the church where they rehearse, was a soloist for the first time during the chacarera, which was accompanied by drums, and recalled that she learned much of her instrumental skills in the neighborhood school orchestra, where she attends from the age of 11.
Currently, she studies at the conservatory and helps beginning students take their first steps at the CASA headquarters.
“The music school changes the lives of the boys, and me too. I feel like I found a place. We get to know another world, for example the Usina, I had never set foot in a theater, we went to several places like this”, the young student pointed out and proudly added that thanks to the help of her teachers she obtained a scholarship from the National Endowment for the Arts consisting of financial aid to invest in their studies.
Meanwhile, the brothers Luisamuel (11) and Zahira (15) Velasco, who play the violin and the clarinet respectively, told Télam that they “enjoy” the orchestra.
Zahira has been attending this school for 7 years and stressed that despite having participated in several concerts it still makes her “anxious and nervous” every time they are held.
“The fact that they are part of the orchestra is something that helped them socialize with the rest of the people,” said their mother, Wilma Velasco, who has lived in Bajo Flores for 25 years, adding: “It was like therapy for U.S”.
In addition, he highlighted “the joy and love” with which the teachers receive the students every Saturday to teach them, because “it motivates them a lot” for their children. And he stated that he feels that they are “a big family” and that “if I had to send them to a private music school, I couldn’t afford it. This is going to give them a life option.”
They all agreed that they would like to continue studying music.
“School-orchestras are prevention spaces. It is important to ‘arrive earlier’, so that the boy or girl can have a chance in life, a project, be able to develop goals, share with friends, be with family, have a space of support out of school, feel accomplished, choose because they want,” violin teacher Mailen Ubiedo Myskow (32), organizer of the initiative and president of CASA, told Télam.
The repertoire that works in the school orchestra is wide and includes popular, academic, movie and video game music.
“We try to make sure that the kids know everything and that later, if they want to continue studying, they should choose the genre they want to delve into. Today we have professional students who are dedicated to urban music, students who are more into tango and others into music We are the first link and then we seek to connect students with those professional training spaces such as conservatories or universities,” added the coordinator.
“In the neighborhoods where we are -Flores and Villa Soldati- there are many who share a family space that is sometimes good and sometimes not, and when it is not good, the orchestra is a space that relieves a bit, because there are situations of family members in consumption of drugs and alcohol, situations of violence, of vulnerability,” said Ubiedo Myskow.
During the week of school orchestras, which began on Saturday June 25 and ended on Saturday, school orchestras from different locations held concerts in their own venues.
Some of the orchestras that participated were Escuela 49 de Moreno, Escuela 42 de Quilmes, the one for boys and girls from the village 1-11-14 of CASA, the Youth for Adults, the Buenos Aires National College Orchestraamong other.
The CASA space has the support of the Art in Neighborhoods program of the City Government.
For next October, the school announced that the second edition of the Villera Opera Festival will take place, which was held for the first time in November last year.