Friday, 22 January 2016

Thank you to Alison Hawthorne, Vivace Strings and Solihull Music Service

It has been said before and it needs saying again: Favela Brass has great friends!

Professional double bass player and Doncaster Youth Jazz Association alumnus Alison Hawthorn now runs Vivace Strings, a youth orchestra, as part of Solihull Music Service. Just before Christmas Alison organized a public concert and a cake sale with staff and parents to raise money for Favela Brass. The events not only raised £230, but also yielded a donation of a trumpet to the project from Solihull Music Service!

Our success as a project is totally dependent on acts of kindness such as these. All of the shows, recordings and parades only become possible if the children are receiving the tuition necessary to learn to play their instruments, which in turn requires funding: with funding we can buy in local professional teachers to cover the gaps that we can't meet with our volunteer staff, and with funding we can also attract more volunteer teachers by offering them a better deal in terms of help with accommodation and living costs.

Clearly, then, we owe a great debt of gratitude to Alison Hawthorne, the parents and staff at Vivace Strings, Solihull Music Service, and indeed to all of our donors and partners, for collectively making the project a viable long-term proposition.

We can't thank you all enough for your kindness and generosity.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Filming with Lonelyleap Productions

Favela Brass will soon be featured in a 2-minute video clip for a major technology company, the main character in which will be budding trumpet player Gabriela.

The production company tasked with making the video, New York-based Lonelyleap Productions, came to the favela to film all day on Monday and yesterday. Filming involved all of the older children and lots of people from the community as well.

Although filming was a long process, the children really enjoyed the experience and there were a lot of laughs along the way.

The main classroom of the project was transformed for the filming and the changes that they made look great, so we're keeping them - bonus!

Perhaps the most gratifying part was that when time came to actually make music, the kids played out of their skins - showing absolutely no signs of being fazed by the presence of all the cameras, microphones, lights and film crew.

Thank you to Lonelyleap and the major technology company (to be revealed at a later date) for choosing our project and thank you to the children and community for helping to make the filming such a success.

A special thank you also to Sister Regina for letting us use the football court at the Centro Assunção-Cenam at short notice and also to Claudio at ABCD restaurant for letting us use the restaurant as a filming location at the last minute.

We are all looking forward very much to seeing the video now!!

Monday, 18 January 2016

Happy 2nd Birthday Favela Brass!

Yesterday we celebrated 2 years of the Favela Brass project with a party at local restaurant ABCD.

As well as letting us use their space and providing food for the children, restaurant ABCD secretly created a cake especially for the occasion (thank you Dona Maria and Mariane!)

Following a cracking show by the children, we also had samba band Samba de Lei to keep the party going into the night!

Big thanks to Claudio and all of the staff at restaurant ABCD, Samba de Lei, and to everyone who has helped make our first two years of existence a success - congratulations team Favela Brass!

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Thank you Roman Sielert!

On Friday we said goodbye to our German volunteer percussion teacher Roman Sielert.

On face value, a European teaching Brazilian percussion to Brazilian children may seem unusual, but it's hard to imagine a better candidate for the job than Roman - he plays and understands Brazilian percussion to such a high level that he could easily work as professional percussionist in Rio, he speaks Portuguese fluently, and most importantly he gets on great with kids.

During his 3 months at the project Roman both worked alongside our permanent Brazilian percussion teacher, Mangueirinha, in large group percussion lessons and also gave private and small-group percussion lessons. He also helped out with a million things outside of the lessons, from lugging keyboards up the hill to playing snare drum at our performances.

Roman is now back in Germany and today auditions for the chance to return to Brazil (São Paulo, unfortunately for us) to further his studies of Brazilian percussion at a university there.

Roman, we thank you ever so much for all your help over the past three months and are rooting for you in the audition today.

Um grande abraço e volte logo!