|The David Machado Orchestra in the Teatro Joao Caetano in |
Rio during the first half of the concert
|The orchestra during the second half of the concert|
|Marcos, the real conductor of the orchestra|
As I was about to drop the baton (which was actually a snare drum stick) for the downbeat, I didn't know what the orchestra was going to do! But I soon realized that they were playing the Bizet, but very slowly. So me, being the musician that I am, led them through a big accelerando to get them up to a faster tempo! I remember vividly looking over to one of the cellists who had the biggest grin on his face as he realized what I was doing! I guess that now I can say that I have actually conducted an orchestra in Brazil, and now hold international conducting credentials, although I wish I had had more time to practice beforehand and study the repertoire! (And for those musical nerds out there, I was beating a 4-pattern as I had no score to follow, but afterwards I realized by watching Marcos, the real conductor of the orchestra, that it was actually in 2. Oops, but how was I supposed to know?)
|The Baleeira Nucleo|
On Thursday, I had the opportunity to visit one of the other nucleos of Orquestrando a Vida, this one in the Baleeira favela. The community is not very far from the main headquarters, perhaps a 15 minute walk, but it seemed like a completely different world.
|Cargo trains still run through the neighborhood|
The nucleo now serves 40 kids, but all of them are currently going to the main site 3 times a week until August, when they will return to this building and resume classes here. The space is fairly small, with just a medium-sized classroom upstairs and a larger hall in the back, which looks like it was and maybe still is used as a dance club, as there was a whole wall covered by giant racks of speakers.
|Jony (far left) telling some street kids that they should come learn music|
We then took a walk around this extremely poor community, led by a lady who lives there (as this is not somewhere you would want to wander into as an outsider, and especially not alone.) As we passed by small shacks, she pointed out all the homes of the current music students. Many stray dogs and chickens were running around, litter was everywhere, shirtless and barefoot kids were playing and flying kites even in the huge town cemetery which borders the neighborhood. Jony and Mariana, the social worker, would approach the kids, and the parents if they were around, and ask them if they would like to join the project and study music. Jony told me that many of these kids don't even attend school and the parents do not seem to care about it. It was certainly humbling to see where these kids live, yet know what amazing music they can create and how it has changed their lives.