Sunday, March 14, 2010

Week 19: Latin Music - A Common Thread

After two weeks in Venezuela, the Abreu Fellows have visited many nucleos, attended concerts and met with key FESNOJIV administrators and teachers in Caracas, Guarico and Miranda who keep this incredible network of music centers operating and growing throughout Venezuela. Now in our third week, we've split into three groups to travel to different areas of the country. First stop:

State of Aragua: David, Lorrie & Rebecca; State of Guarico: Alvaro, Christine, Katie & Dan; and State of Merida: Dantes, Jonathan & Stan

My team is based in Aragua's capital of Maracay where we have visited four nucleos: La Victoria, Cagua, Maracay and San Vicente. In total, since arriving to Venezuela we have observed nine nucleos, all unique and reflective of their communities.

One surprising thread that I have seen running through all of the nucleos is Latin music. I was prepared to observe high caliber orchestras playing classical repertoire (and wasn't disappointed), but didn't expect to see equal attention paid to Latin classical and folk music. Without fail, every nucleo was incorporating some aspect of Latin influence - whether through dance, song, instrumentation or orchestral pieces. The joy, energy and enthusiasm that the students express when playing this music are contagious.

I've tried to capture this spirit in a short iMovie representing the nucleos I've visited. In less than 4 minutes, you will see fourteen unique experiences representing ages from three to thirty including:
  • youth choirs singing works by Venezuelan Alberto Grau, who incorporates movement into his compositions;
  • an electric cuatro as part of a duet;
  • Venezuelan folk music ensembles playing traditional instruments - Criolla harp, cuatro, mandolas, guitar, mandolin and maracas;
  • the White Hands Choir, composed of deaf students, who sign the words their peers are singing (See Christin's blog for more information on the special needs program in Guarico);
  • dancing violinists, cellists and horns and:
  • a 500-member performance of the Venezuelan national anthem integrating all of the diverse music programs offered in Guarico.
Muchas gracias, FESNOJIV, staff, faculty and students for inspiring all of us! Viva La Musica!


    1. Joy! Que Viva la musica!!

    2. lorrie, this is so exciting to watch! thank you for sharing it.
      we miss you.