A visit with the Orchestra of Recycled Instruments (featured in Landfill Harmonic)

GO’s Founder & Executive Director had the privilege of visiting with the inspirational Orquesta de Instrumentos Reciclados de Cateura (Orchestra of Recycled Instruments of Cateura), Paraguay, featured in the upcoming documentary ‘Landfill Harmonic’.  Here’s Scott’s report from the Museum of Musical Instruments in Scottsdale, Arizona:

When I first saw them in person, I found them on the 2nd floor of the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Scottsdale, Arizona, far away – in both distance and lifestyle – from the orchestra’s home in Cateura, Paraguay.  Favio and his students were telling their story and demonstrating their recycled instruments to a rapt audience of museum-goers who were jockeying with one another to capture the moment with their iPhone cameras.

Upon first seeing the trailer to the upcoming documentary, Landfill Harmonic, the team at GO Campaign immediately reached out to the orchestra through our mutual friends at Creative Visions in Malibu.  While the trailer was being used to raise much needed funds to complete the documentary film about the orchestra, who was actually raising money to help the orchestra itself?  Once we discovered that no organization was raising money for the orchestra, and once we learned from the orchestra leader Favio Chavez just how great the need was on the ground, GO Campaign issued a grant to help the orchestra expand their music education program from 50 to over 100 youth. Our small grant also enabled them to hire more music teachers and make more instruments.

I spent time with Favio and the orchestra before and after their concert at MIM and I was both charmed and impressed. After a half hour with them, I felt like part of the family.  They asked for advice on growing their organization, though I knew that they had more to teach me than I could ever teach them. Favio has great dreams – not only for the children in the orchestra, but for their parents, families, and the entire impoverished community of Cateura. With the help of  GO donors, if we are successful in raising funds for a 2nd and 3rd grant, I have no doubt that Favio can achieve his dreams.  He refuses to get distracted by media attention, but remains focused on who he is, where he comes from, and how best to lift up his community.  He’s not just making music out of trash (which by itself is amazing enough), but he is working to better the lives of everyone in Cateura, and he does that slowly, methodically, by working with the youth, their parents, and community leaders. He doesn’t just want the orchestra to benefit – he wants everyone to benefit.

He’s yet one more amazing Local Hero that GO Campaign is proud to add to our roster of inspiring role models. If you haven’t seen the trailer to the upcoming film, or if you haven’t donated to help this truly life-changing project continue and grow, please click here.  You won’t be disappointed.