Orchestrating opportunities

Published on Sunday, 20 November 2016

“We have the opportunity to teach these students the importance of working together, of interacting with one another, of the discipline needed to achieve results. The difference the orchestra makes in the lives of these young people goes beyond the classroom, it is something they carry into their lives. It is amazing and touching how important this is for them”

– Eliseu Ferreira da Silva, conductor

Eliseu is trained in Arts Education, with a degree in the clarinet and a Masters in Music Performance from the School of Music and Scenic Arts at the Federal University of Goiás.

In 2009, Enel sponsored the Goiás Youth Symphony Orchestra (Orquestra Sinfônica Jovem de Goiás – OSJG) and with it the chance to purchase wind instruments, which in the past had to be borrowed for practice sessions and auditions.

To Eliseu, of all the performances OSJG’s young musicians did around Brazil and overseas – in 2011, the group performed in Spain – one holds a special place: taking part in the Discovering Music programme, which involved putting on ten concerts in the countryside of Goiás, where many children and adults had never seen an orchestra before. From then on, started a project of social and cultural inclusion that would go far beyond the performances. The Symphony of Tomorrow (Sinfonia do Amanhã) project was born in 2013, a music school for children and young people in the municipality of Cachoeira Dourada - GO.

Targeting children and teenagers mostly from low-income families in Cachoeira Dourada, Itumbiara and Cachoeira de Minas cities, the school offers free classes in of violin, classical viola, cello, double bass, guitar, English flute, brass instruments and choir singing to 80 pupils ranging in age from eight to 18. The orchestra practice is combined with social and educational support for all students.

A whole new world opened up to the budding musicians: in 2014, the group toured across seven Brazilian cities and then performed in Rome, Italy. The youngsters were as accomplished as adults. The most talented performers were invited to become members of the Goiás Youth Orchestra.

"These children and young people have discovered another musical universe beyond TV and radio. They perform better at school and their communication has improved. The impact on them has been very positive. Our dream is to expand this programme. A partnership is already being discussed with the state government in order to extend the project to ten more cities in Goiás, specifically in areas of social vulnerability,” says Eliseu, who is executive and artistic director of Symphony of Tomorrow project.

In 2016, aiming to expand and further support the projects already running in various locations, Enel created a platform that brings together 18 music schools and now benefits more than 2,500 students in Rio Grande do Sul, Goiás and Ceará, becoming a large collaborative network.

According to Débora Pinho, Enel Brasil’s Head of Integration with the Social Environment, the Symphony of Tomorrow platform connects projects from different areas and realities, strengthening them all, as well as enabling the sharing of best practices. “This will allow for the development and sustainability of music and education projects and the extension of their benefits to the audience of children, teenagers, and young people participating in them,” she says.