El Tejar, Chimaltenango, Guatemala
Funding: ongoing, over $10,000
Music program: instruments and teacher’s salaries Partnership with LEAF International (www.theleaf.org)
In 2007, LEAF International and PEG Partners began a cooperative program in the village of El Tejar, funding a music program for the small children of the CEDIN school, and also an after school band program for older children. We have continued to support that program cooperatively since then.
Shortly after the program began, the impoverished parents of the students in the band program began to bring building supplies to the school, one bag of cement or cinder block at a time, and eventually, with assistance from another non-profit, they built a music room, complete with a stage, for the school.
In 2011, the program served 165 students, including 115 preschool children from CEDIN, ages 4 through 6, and 50 primary school and middle school students, ages 7 through 15 years old. The preschool students met weekly for 45 minutes of instruction where they learned about rhythm by playing percussion instruments such as drums, tambourines, bells, triangles, maracas and others. The primary and middle school students met three times a week for over 8 hours of music practice a week. These boys and girls were divided into five practice groups: beginning recorder, intermediate recorder, mandolin, keyboard and ensemble which include singing and playing various instruments.
In addition to the in-class music instruction, the children had four opportunities to play in the community during November and December – at CEDIN, the central park in El Tejar, Tipo Federación Miguel Hidalgo School in Chimaltenango and the Mall Centro Comercial Pradera in Chimaltenango. The group also recorded their first CD of Christmas music and offered it to the public.
One of the students, Jorge Luis Patzán Muñoz, is studying music education at the conservatory in Guatemala City and travels there daily. Without LEAF’s support of the music program, Jorge Luis would not have had the opportunity to discover and develop his love of music.
In 2012, LEAF International, which is a non-profit project of the Lake Eden Arts Festival in Asheville, North Carolina invited the older students from the school band to come to the United States to perform. Eight students, ages 11 to 18, and three adults (the two music teachers and the school principal) spent ten days in North Carolina, working as artists in residence at a middle school and performing at an elementary school in Asheville, then at Duke University in Durham. LEAF International provided $6000 in funding, while PEG handled the logistics and booking. The students made enough money from their other performances to pay for the rest of their trip expenses, and the experience was life-changing for all who were involved. We hope to repeat the tour in 2014.