I would like to take this opportunity to exalt through these few lines the great social and cultural work for the past ten years which the St. Augustine Chamber Orchestra (SACO) has been doing with the youth and kids of Trinidad and Tobago. This is done through academic music which is an infallible tool in their education in values and social harmony, even though they do not have the resources necessary to make a greater impact in the community. This is why the government, private companies, corporations, general public, etc. should take a moment of reflection in order to expand and achieve the required funds for this wonderful project so it can reach to the entire community of Trinidad and Tobago, especially the ones of lower resources.
It should be noted the support extended by the System of Youth and Infant Orchestras of Venezuela, created by Dr. Jose Antonio Abreu (FESNOJIV) to the St. Augustine Chamber Orchestra for their annual music workshop. It’s precisely the experience of more than thirty five years of this system which I am honoured to be a founder member, being a Trinidadian. This is irrefutable evidence of what can be achieved for the society of Trinidad and Tobago such as those undertaken by the St. Augustine Chamber Orchestra.
Finally I’ll like to leave you with a quotation by Dr. Jose Antonio Abreu, “Culture for the poor, cannot be a poor culture. It should be equipped with the best teachers, the best instruments and the best infrastructure.”
Head of the Venezuelan Tutors (FESNOJIV)
ST AUGUSTINE CHAMBER ORCHESTRA (S.A.C.O.) AND
THE TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO YOUTH PHILHARMONIC (TTYP)
Yearly August Music Workshops - The FESNOJIV Connection:
The workshop is designed to further impart aesthetic values of beauty in the Western Classical Musical Tradition. The annual three week intensive workshop helps to broaden the musical knowledge of our students while improving and sharpening their performance skills through sound technical training and execution. Our students eagerly anticipate this experience where learning is both fun and hard work. To this end, S.A.C.O. continues to solicit the assistance of professional string and woodwind and brass musicians/tutors from the State Foundation for the National System of Youth Orchestras and Choirs in Caracas, Venezuela. It is called FESNOJIV. Three of these tutors, Andres Herrera, Pablo Herrera and Heemath Jahoor were also involved as string tutors with the former National Youth Orchestra of Trinidad and Tobago from its inception in 1985. Their resumes include the training of students of The Symphonic Youth Orchestra of Venezuela. This orchestra enjoys worldwide acclaim.
Conductor and Music Workshops in Venezuela:
SACO’s Board in consultation with our Venezuelan counterparts agreed that even greater benefits would be achieved if the Music Director/Conductor and selected students be immersed in a visible artistic explosion of the Venezuelan musical education model that has a history of over 30 years. In the American continent there is not another educational model like this.
World renowned conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, Sir Simon Rattle, had this to say: “We in Europe are fortunate that we have a long musical tradition. But that benefit carries a risk: we rely on that tradition and we don’t see what’s happening in other parts of the world. That is why we have to look at what is going on in Venezuela. We came here initially with the idea of teaching and helping, but I would now say that 70% of our mission here is to learn.” Excerpt from “Venezuela Bursting with Orchestras” by Chefi Borzacchini. Page 160.
Hence we have embraced the thrice yearly Conductor and Music Workshops in Venezuela which provide a unique, motivational and professional environment for intensive training geared to enhancing the musical skills of the Music Director/Conductor and the selected senior students. These skills and experiences gained are vitally important to the establishment of an Adult Orchestra like no other in our hemisphere.
One must truly appreciate the interwoven relationship as outlined above in keeping with the model related to the Pyramid structure of FESNOJIV. This ‘bottom-up’ approach guarantees effective succession planning and sustainability, unlike other current programmes with a ‘top-bottom’ approach. See diagram below: