“If you had all been with Pip D and me this afternoon in South Auckland you would be at home tonight with a rosy glow in your hearts — or wherever you keep your rosy glows !…..
Pip and I attended, first, a very low key informal but heartfelt “cuppa” time before a BIG concert where we, and other supporters of Sistema were thanked over and over. A Samoan family spoke, to add impact— and that they surely did that, about what it meant to them to be a Sistema family. The young daughter student, maybe 12 or 13, read a speech describing how her music had lifted her to explore heights she thought impossible. (She is now a scholarship student at St Cuthberts, but that’s another story.). Her mother, Lindah, spoke really eloquently about what it mean for her and her husband to have their eldest three children learning violin, clarinet and trombone, and their fourth child, a cute little boy who sat through the whole long afternoon without a murmur, is rearing to join up. She particularly emphasised what it meant to live in Otara, aware of so many negative attitudes towards her community and her people, to have something as positive as Sistema to turn attitudes on their head.
The Dad, who apologized for his incoherence having come straight from work, was really the most eloquent of all: He was speechless and tearful in his gratitude…….
THEN we went in to the huge arena-type stadium/hall and the music began! Nearly 400 children performed in different “orchestras” all through the afternoon. Other children sat on the floor listening with amazingly full-on attention. The music ranged from the beginners whose concentration, discipline and application was remarkable (aged 6 or 7) to the two orchestras numbering around 100 students who so vividly demonstrated the great skills they had acquired. Really it took heart-warming to a new level and Pip and I both loved every minute. We sat behind two principals of the local schools and they are clearly rapt with the project and the difference it makes to their students. Maths, English and “leadership” qualities have all taken many notches UP for the kids involved. It just makes you WISH every child had the same chances. One young boy announcer talked about the thrill of looking at music not understanding a thing about it, then being able to read it, then PLAY it! He made it sound like one of the thrills of his life.
The Wind Band came near the end of the programme and they were super cool. Flutes, I think five, were in evidence, plus clarinets, five, trombones, trumpets. A real thrill and I know every Rose Trustee would have been absolutely delighted.
So I pass on the most sincere thanks from all the Sistema trustees, the teachers, the students…….Well done Roses for our role in it all
We can happily be sure it will be a great project for continued support. In fact we were told Creative NZ is cutting back on their funding so people like us are even more important in the future. … Trish Gribben (Rose Charities NZ Trustee)