|Jony William (left) and myself with|
our Symphonic Festival shirts on
the municipal orchestra is essentially a smaller version of the top youth orchestra of the project, the Mariuccia Iacovino orchestra (and the kids in the orchestra do get paid.) Jony believes that if you truly want and believe in something, you need to fight and struggle for it. This is the true meaning of "Tocar e Lutar" ("To Play and to Fight,") the motto of El Sistema.
|Venezuelan teacher leading the orchestra|
|Mariuccia Iacovino orchestra in rehearsal|
I was also able to sit down this week with Mariana Andrade, who is both the mother of one of the students and a social worker at the project, beginning her work here a little over a month ago. She told me that more than 50% of the students here come from families from the lowest economic level. Campos is a very big city in terms of area, covering over 1,500 square miles (about the size of Rhode Island). While the vast majority of people are clustered in densely populated center, Mariana told me that there are more than 30 districts and Orquestrando a Vida serves kids from 80 different neighborhoods. Some are more than an hour's drive away and the mothers come with their children, but instead of returning all the way home, they stay until the kids are done, so one of the things she does is an arts and crafts group with the moms to take advantage of their time waiting. She also sees children and mediates conflicts and helps families to understand the project and what they do here. They also have a psychologist who usually visits once a week with whom the children can make appointments with.
|Venezuelan conductor leading the orchestra|