Friday, June 22, 2012

Big Noise Orchestras

I have a friend whose work has focused on dealing with POS hardware for a number of years; not so much in the way of selling the stuff, but fixing it.  We don't give much thought to what goes on behind the scenes when we pay for our groceries, or buy a book in a shop, or any one of a hundred other things that we use POS for.  It's a kind of modern miracle in its own way.

And if you want to see a different kind of modern miracle - in fact, I'd go so far as to say it's a picture of the kingdom of God at work - check out the article on the Guardian website on the Big Noise orchestra.  This is a movement that started in Venezuela, as an attempt to bring young children off the streets from their poverty-stricken lives and give them a community experience and discipline that would stand them and their community in good stead over the years to come.  It's been a roaring success, and now Richard Holloway, the former bishop of Edinburgh, has brought the same idea to the Scottish community of Raploch, where it's also taken off.  80% of the children - 80%! - are involved with learning music as a result of this initiative.   That statistic is extraordinary.

But even more extraordinary is the video that goes with the article.  You have to watch this, even if you don't read the article.  There's a bit of talking head stuff, but much of it shows the two orchestras at work - they met together in the town of Raploch.  One is the adult orchestra from Venezuela, and the other is the children's orchestra.  But further on in the video (it's only about eight minutes all up) the two orchestras combine.  There's a wonderful moment when one of the Venezuelan players gives the thumbs up to one of the Scottish kids - it's gone in a flash, but it's moment of pure delight.   And the enthusiasm!  You have to see it to believe it.

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