The most valuable gift we can give a child is the confidence to dream and the tools to realize their dreams. Rhythm in the Barrios, known in Spanish as ‘Ritmo en los Barrios’ or (RELB), has been doing just that for the past 10 years through free music classes and performances in neighborhoods throughout the department of Granada. The teachers of Ritmo en los Barrios have inspired students with a love for music-making and have given them the skills to share this joy with their own communities.
Founded by Spaniard Raúl Planas in 2003 and continued by Nicaraguan music-teachers, the project has taught classes in music theory, offered lessons in violin, piano, recorder, voice, and guitar, and has created performance opportunities for the students inside and outside of their communities. All of the classes and materials, including musical instruments, are provided for free so that all interested students can participate.
RELB has supported students’ academic education by holding music classes in public schools (obliging those who want to participate to attend school) and by collaborating with classroom teachers to incorporate music into the regular curriculum.
Despite the program’s great successes, RELB has had to cut their services in half over the past year due to lack of funding. Originally the program was offered in 12 different schools, but now can only afford to offer classes in five schools. RELB also had to decrease its number of paid teachers.
Still, Ritmo en los Barrios has decided to take this setback as an opportunity for new growth by beginning the process of realizing a long-held dream: the creation of the project’s first student recorder orchestra.
This group will bring together the project’s most advanced students and will provide them with the opportunity to meet fellow student musicians from different communities, learn a new musical repertoire, and develop ensemble skills. The recorder orchestra will represent RELB in concerts and recitals throughout Granada, raising funds for the continuance and expansion of the project’s programs. In the future, RELB’s teachers hope to train the orchestra students to become the next generation of music teachers in their own communities, thereby becoming a self-sustaining project.
We invite everyone in the community to help make this dream a reality. On Monday, May 6at 7 p.m., teachers, students, volunteers, and friends of Ritmo en los Barrios will present a benefit concert in Casa de los Tres Mundos in Granada to raise funds for the new orchestra.
Your donations will provide transportation for teachers and students for the extra rehearsals that the group will need in order to prepare for their own first concert. A donation of $4 will support one student for a month of transportation to orchestra rehearsals, and $24 will support one student for the six months of rehearsals. Still, any donation amount will be accepted and greatly appreciated; if you are unable to contribute monetarily we still want you in the audience!
We hope to see you next Monday and hope that you will join us in expanding the musical opportunities for youth throughout Granada!
Learn more about the program at our website.
Maggie Schenk is a volunteer at Ritmo en Los Barrios.