Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Thank you Andy Casterton and The British School

Thank you ever so much to Andy Casterton and The British School, Rio de Janeiro for the donation of a Technics digital piano to the project. Believe it or not we were a music school without a single keyboard or piano in sight - until now! Thanks also to João Neri for driving us down to the British School in Urca in his van to pick it up.

João Neri (above left), Andy Casterton (above right)

Mangueirinha and class 1

Monday, 28 September 2015

Thank you Denize Rodrigues!

One of the main reasons for the Favela Brass project is the high price of instruments in Brazil. All of our wind instruments are from abroad. Except one: after giving her first lesson for our students, Brazilian saxophonist Denize Rodrigues donated a mint condition tenor sax to the project. As well as being an extremely generous act given the price of saxes in Brazil, it's really helpful for us - we were with two sax students (Vinícius and André) but only one sax. Now both can study at home and we have avoided a very tricky situation at our next show!

Thank you ever so much Denize.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

#FavelaBrass2016 - Our First Chance!

The first concrete opportunity of our ‪#‎FavelaBrass2016‬ campaign has arrived!

Yesterday Rio's Culture Ministry invited Favela Brass to the the launch of a new program, which will award the 120 winning bands with R$20,000 and the chance to play up to 5 shows on the cultural stages that will be set up around the city during the "Olympic period" (May - Sept).

[Above: Culture Secretary Marcelo Calero announcing the program yesterday]

Applications will open on Tuesday and we'll probably have about 6 weeks to put our bid together. Part of this application will almost certainly be a showreel of the children playing, so the challenge over the coming weeks will be to put together a show that does justice to our childrens' talents, then get a top quality recording of us performing it in public.

Exciting stuff!!

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Joe Howe, Jonas Corrêa and Tyler Willoughby

American percussionists Tyler Willoughby and Joe Howe from Southern Oregon University in the United States, currently in Rio performing and teaching at the Brazilian Music Conservatory, visited the project last week and decided to come back on Thursday, this time to help with some serious rhythm and snare drum training for our students. At the same time Brazilian professional trombonist Jonas Corrêa worked with our up and coming new crop of young trombone players, giving them a crucial orientation on basic trombone technique.

The aim for Favela Brass is to be a centre of excellence, not just providing kids with music lessons, but allowing them a chance to be guided by top-notch professional musicians right from the start. That's clearly what was happening on Thursday and we are extremely grateful to Joe, Jonas and Tyler for donating their time and talent so generously to helping our young musicians.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Favela Brass and Volunteer in Brazil

Favela Brass is very proud to announce that we are now being supported by UK-based charity Volunteer in Brazil (also known as VinB).

Volunteer in Brazil was conceived by its founder, Joe Howson, whilst he served as a volunteer in North East Brazil in the early 1980′s.

VinB founder Joe Howson

The charity exists to help individuals and communities in Brazil and Europe to create bonds of solidarity. Their primary focus is to support educational and small scale development projects in the urban communities of Rio de Janeiro and isolated rural communities in the region of Cristino Castro, North East Brazil. They also provide opportunities for individuals to volunteer in communities in Brazil and the UK, facilitate exposure visits and deliver experiential learning activities that raise awareness of poverty, injustice and the need for global solidarity.

We are honoured that VinB have seen fit to help Favela Brass and are very grateful for their support.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Lots of Students + Lots of Teachers = Lots of Learning!

In the 18 months that the project has been going there have been times when we've had lots of teachers and there have been times when we've had lots of students. Predictably, we always seemed to end up with the most teachers when we had the least students and vice versa!

That has now changed. Thanks to the help of everyone who has donated so generously to the project we can now afford to hire more teachers to maintain our standard of tuition as our numbers steadily rise. Hence even with 29 children arriving for lessons yesterday, our team of 4 teachers was still able to cater to the educational needs of each of them - not one child was left behind and not one was left twiddling their thumbs!

It was a great days' teaching. Thank you ever so much to teachers Yann Vatheley (African drumming), Marco Serragrande (trombone) and Manguerinha (percussion) and to all of our donors for providing us with the resources to keep all of our kids learning at full tilt!