A dream come true
The project was born in 2011 in a neighborhood of Oaxaca (southern Mexico) known for its violence and poverty. In this slum built at the foot of a huge rubbish dump, about twenty young people aged 8 to 16 dreamed of creating a brass band. They had neither financial means nor instruments, but decided to meet for three hours a day to learn music theory with a local clarinetist.
It was by chance that Isabelle de Boves, a French airline pilot, crossed their path a few months later and decided to help them.
"The children had been revising for six months, they had stars in their eyes and explained that 'later' they would play the trumpet or the clarinet."
Back to France, she contacted schools, shops, musicians and manufacturers. A great chain of solidarity was organised in France to collect and transport instruments, music stands, mouthpieces, reeds, scores...
Over the past 10 years this cooperation has enabled the purchase of numerous instruments, the construction of premises, the training of instrument makers and the long-term employment of music teachers.
Today, the school has 140 students and a symphony orchestra. Some students have even received scholarships to study music at an advanced level at a local conservatory or at the University of Mexico.
"My goal is to help the children of Vicente, to change their mentality so that they have a better future," explains one of their teachers. "Given the living conditions, many young people were going into gangs and drugs. But they escaped that. This has clearly brought about a real change in the community and within the families."
There are still many projects: expanding the music school to accommodate more children, hiring more teachers, offering more scholarships to children who wish to pursue advanced musical studies at the conservatory or university, but also continuing the transfer of skills for the repair of instruments.
Paty, a 26-year-old woman from the neighborhood, received a grant to study at ITEMM [European Technological Institute for Music Professions] for one year and carried out several internships, especially in the Henri SELMER Paris repair workshop. At the end of her training, she returned to Mexico accompanied by our technician Martin in order to set up a repair workshop within the music school.
Eventually, the Escuela de Iniciación Musical Santa Cecilia aims to be fully autonomous.
Charity concert with Victor Julien-Laferrière
The cancellation of the charity concerts in 2020 has weakened the association's balance. In Mexico, after 13 months of lockdown and remote music lessons, the children are finally starting to rehearse again. However, the health context and the economic crisis are having a lasting effect on their neighborhood.
Diapason d'Or 2017 and Winner of the 2018 Victoires de la Musique Classique in the category "Soloist Instrumentalist of the Year", Victor Julien-Laferrière gives an exceptional private concert in support of the association.
On the program:
- The Cello Suite by Gaspar Cassadó
- Zoltán Kodály's Sonata for Solo Cello Opus 8
We encourage those who can donate (minimum 10€) to support the association and watch Victor Julien-Laferrière's concert online.