By Ciara Long, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Children in Rio’s Maré favela complex will have the opportunity to learn play classical music and instruments with Orquestra Maréimbau. The orchestra, run by local NGO Instituto Staumbor, opened registrations for new members this week and will continue to receive applications until until March 30th.
There are 40 places available for children aged between 7 and 14 years old and living in Maré to learn violin, cello, flute, clarinet and percussion. Classes are free and run by conductor and musician Ricardo Mirapalheta, who founded the project as a part of NGO Instituto Staumbor a decade ago.
The orchestra has been well-received by community members, with concerts even reportedly healing divides between residents and Police Pacifying Units. The project has been awarded the municipal culture secretary’s prestigious Territórios da Cultura prize, and has also gained private sponsorship from Lamsa, Linha Amarela and Instituto Invepar.
Orquestra Maréimbau’s success has lead to invitations for Instituto Stambour to create similar projects in other disadvantaged areas of the city, including Providência, Cabritos, Santíssimo and Nova Iguaçu.
Applications for children to take part in Orquestra Maréimbau can be made at Instituto Staumbor, located in Bonsucesso, where classes also take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30 PM.
Tom Ashe, who runs NGO Favela Brass, which gives children in Pereirão community the chance to learn brass and wind instruments, said that it’s great to see the spread of musical education projects to areas outside of Rio’s Zona Sul (South Zone).
“Obviously, we should try and expand access to musical education everywhere,” Ashe told The Rio Times. “It’s a very good social learning opportunity and is good for concentration. As well, if children are taking music as an out-of-school activity in favelas, it gives a positive focus for their lives. For some of the kids, music will be a work opportunity too.”