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Link Up in Brazil: A Spring Morning’s Dream

On November 8, the Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira (OSB) gave the South American premiere of Link Up: The Orchestra Moves, an interactive concert experience for third through fifth graders. More than 1,500 students and teachers from Rio de Janeiro played recorder, sang along, and danced at the concert—the culmination of the Weill Music Institute’s Link Up educational curriculum that introduces students to the orchestra.

There is urgent need for such an educational resource in Rio’s schools; more than 100 schools applied for 40 available slots. Despite challenging teaching environments and a last-minute funding cut that sent administrators scrambling for a venue days before the concert, orchestra education director Anahi Ravagnani continued to push teachers to face their challenges and find solutions. The result was a vibrant, energetic display of the resilience of a community who came together to achieve their goals. Rosaria Diniz, a teacher who participated in the concert, shared some thoughts on Facebook after the event.

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The program has in its repertoire the piece “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” but what I saw was my dream being realized on a spring morning at Cidade das Artes. To realize dreams in the current context of this country is a grand feat. To realize dreams in a city, called “maravilhosa,” which in practice turns its back to one of the greatest cultural heritages that it has, is admirable. More than a realization of my dream, the commitment of the Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira, patrimony of this city and of this country—even in the middle of one of the largest crises in its 76 years of existence—to not compromise its efforts in presenting Link Up: The Orchestra Moves is worthy of admiration, respect, and recognition.

Thanks to these efforts, I was there realizing my dream, alongside the students and professors from the Francis Hime Municipal School. And I, who have always been good at using and abusing words, feel at a loss for words to express my amazement … The emotion of seeing and hearing a group of a thousand children interacting, playing, and singing with the OSB cannot be expressed in words, because words—as strong and intense as they can be—will never express everything that I felt and that I feel right now upon writing this testimony.

Link Up Brazil 1
Photography: Cicero Rodrigues

I had learned, even back in grade school, that Music is a universal language. On Tuesday, the 8th of November, I added to this concept an even more concrete knowledge: Music transcends barriers and unites us in one purpose and objective.

In that hall, girls and boys from the most different of schools, from the most diverse social contexts, from various areas of this city and state demonstrated that they have access to the same understanding, independent of all the factors that make them different. In that moment, it didn’t make a difference if he or she was a resident of the wealthy Zona Sul (South Zone) or from an impoverished community on the outskirts of the city. In that moment, it didn’t make a difference if their guardians were paying expensive tuition for a private school or if they sent their kids to school hoping that at least there they may have an opportunity to have a meal. None of this mattered! They had access to the same understanding and took from this the same knowledge.

And this, Fundação Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira, does not have a price! It doesn’t have a price because the value is inestimable, incalculable ... The pleasure and the satisfaction of seeing the shine in the eyes and smile on the face of a child is itself so valuable that it will never be enjoyed by the politicians that govern our city and our country because it is destined for those who believe, who dream, and who fight in their day to day for a society more just, that offers opportunities to all.

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Photography: Cicero Rodrigues

The gratefulness in my heart will never be erased, just as the experience these children had will never be erased from the memories of each one of them. I know that what they experienced in that hall was worth the months of work and made all of the difficulties in the process of this triumph become irrelevant.

Thank you, Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira, for giving to the students and professors of the Francis Hime Municipal School this sublime experience. I am certain that we will be together in 2017, in the next edition of Link Up, because I believe in dreams, and, like each one of you, I have learned that they can be realized.

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—Professora Rosaria Diniz

Carnegie Hall partners with more than 90 orchestras across the US and around the world to bring Link Up to approximately 380,000 students and teachers this season. In addition to Brazil, partner orchestras are based in Japan, Canada, Mexico, Spain, and Kenya. See the complete list of partners.

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