Music School for Disadvantaged Children of Tor Pignattara Rome, Italy

Project location: ITALY, Rome
Project start date: June 2012 - Project end date: This project covers various years
Project number: 2012-009
Beneficiary: Associazione Culturale Musica e altre cose

Time span for this Final Report: October 2013 – November 2014
The year-end concert of the orchestra was held on June 12 at Theatre Vignoli, in Pigneto, a short walk from Torpignattara. It was attended by about 300 people. The concert was for everyone (both for the kids and for the very meaning of the project) an important and crucial moment, which has channeled the efforts of the work done during the year.
The last month of rehearsals was focused on the preparation of the concert, and the kids have focused their attention and poured out their feelings on this event, perceived by all as an opportunity to valorize the experience done. In fact, from a musical point of view and in relation to their personal path, the preparation of the concert highlighted the strengths of the group, individuality and growth of children, but also some problematic issues and fatigue that some of them face in participating in the project. For some of them, the lack of persistence and effort in taking a sustained effort (physiological as they are young) had an impact on the role he/she assumed in preparing the concert and during the performance itself, highlighting the differences (in some cases also considerable) between the kids. It is significant that in most cases the musical dimension, the involvement in the group and the individual growth go hand in hand: the more mature kids, who are more committed and are more constructive in group dynamics are also those who have taken a more prominent role in the musical dimension, leading the orchestra.
The preparation of the concert was an opportunity to work on assuming responsibility by all, including the less mature group, relying on the voltage required to prepare an event in public. Most of them reacted positively, not only by increasing their own commitment but also by supporting the others’ commitment and by supporting the whole group.
Another important element was the successful insertion of two situations of fragility detected during the year and included in the group. This is the case of two kids whose participation in the final performance has exceeded expectations, no one thought that they could participate in the first concert, since they had entered the orchestra a short time before the concert and since they had difficult personal situations.
One of the two kids is an unaccompanied foreign minor, in Italy for 4 months only, guest at a residential facility for minors. Although he is at an early stage of the process of settlement in Italy and the difficulties in speaking Italian, in understanding the culture and the context, in the practical organization (travel within the city, the children’s home is away from the orchestra's rehearsal room) as well as the paperwork related to the documents, his passion for singing led him to participate consistently and to sing a song in the final concert as soloist.
M.  is a 12 year old girl placed in a reception center for families in need of psycho-social and economic support where she lives with her mother and brothers, but without the father who has abandoned them. The girl is shy and, despite this, she is very passionate in singing. She has worked hard to join the group and sing through a microphone. She is still not very keen on socializing with the rest of the group, but is struggling to overcome her shyness and she has never stopped to come to rehearsals, enthusiastic to bring out the voice, showing determination and a strong motivation. She also sang during the concert, as a vocalist, and for her it was a very good test considering how much anyone amplifies the fear while being on stage, in a theater with such a large audience. Before the concert, the girl cried with emotion, but again, when she was faced with the choice of giving up if she did not feel like singing she showed great determination and took the stage .
Also for all the other kids taking the stage was an important moment, and a moment of emotional intensity. Several crucial elements emerged, both positive and problematic about the relationship of the children with their parents, expressed by the figure of parents as spectators, having expectations, judgments, protection in respect of their children.
The concert was attended as spectators, by many youngsters from various community centers, children’s’ homes, associations that were contacted during the year in order to try to involve them in the project. Their enthusiasm was palpable at the end of the concert and this will impact positively on the work of the next year as it will facilitate everyone directly involved in the activities of the laboratory.
It can be said that the project has fully achieved the expected results.
The album recording, originally scheduled for the same time period has been scheduled for early September to allow children to live more intensively this important moment aimed at testing of their work.
In July, Piccola Orchestra di Tor Pignattara has performed in Arezzo at the important international music festival “Arezzo Wave Love Festival”, at its twenty-eighth edition.
The concert was preceded by a presentation of the project which took place in the morning in the beautiful historical center of Arezzo, in Piazza Grande al Palazzo Fraternità dei Laici. It was attended by the artistic director of the Festival, the Councillor for Culture of the Tuscany Region and the representative of Piccola Orchestra di Tor Pignattara, Domenico Coduto. The meeting was very interesting and was attended by a lot of people and a lot of young people.
The performance of the band began at 17:30 and lasted 30 minutes, with an extraordinary participation of people, that even if was not massive (afternoon concerts are usually not followed by many people), has exhibited appreciation for the good performance of the kids.
The opportunity to participate at the Arezzo Wave has produced positive effects on the kids during the rehearsals for the preparation of the concert. They worked very well showing that they had practiced on their own and that they had understood the importance of the event. It was an opportunity for them to learn new aspects of engaging in live music, in particular the relationship with the festival organizers and technicians who run the stage, in a situation in which the alternation of different bands on the same stage implies some attention towards the ones working and the other bands, the timing of taking and leaving the stage and so on. All this, although it might seem trivial, it is not obvious to the kids and requires the ability to "look around" to pay attention to the others even while he/she is very focused - and anxious because of his/her own performance. The kids have shown that they have fully understood these aspects and behaved overall very well during the festival.
The experience was conceived as a kind of "day out” of the group, in which the kids could get even closer to each other and showed some attention to the most delicate situations. M. In particular, the very shy girl from a children’s home, who was mostly silent in the rehearsal’s room, seemed to be "unlocked" and she  showed openness to some members of the group, with whom she has being chatting. For F., the unaccompanied foreign kid, it was a wonderful experience; he was supported by the other members of the group and now he is striving more and more to communicate with others. In his case, the difficulties are primarily linguistic, and taking part in intense experiences in new contexts and alone (without his friend, compatriot who usually translates for him) was a great opportunity to learn the language. As the concert happened in a period of Ramadan and F. observes it with great dedication, it was very delicate to handle the hot weather, the travel and the performance without water or food for him, but it was also an opportunity to talk about it and explain it to the other kids, and F. was not affected physically. In general, with respect to making children responsible, the objective can be considered achieved: this experience has created the good basis for the continuation of the activities in the coming year.
The album
In September the recording of the album took place, the final moment of the project in which the final efforts are concentrated to provide the children with an educational experience in terms of social and musical terms and at the same produce something that will witness what the orchestra has done. The kids were very interested and especially some of them seem particularly keen to work in the recording studio.
The registration process was coordinated by the Director Pino Pecorelli and lasted a couple of weeks. Shortly after the album was edited and mixed by the Director together with a sound engineer.
The work contains 7 tracks, played by young musicians and directed by Pino Pecorelli who also handled the arrangements of the songs. The artistic production was done by Pino Pecorelli, Domenico Coduto is the executive producer.
The CD contains two unreleased tracks, the first written by Livio Minafra (music director of the project for the first year), entitled "Boomerang" which is an instrumental circus-flavored track; the second, titled "Empire State Building" was written by Pino Pecorelli (music) and the text is the result of the work of two young members of the orchestra, Maurizio Lipoli and Lorenzo Rubeo.
Immediately after the release, the album will be promoted through the press and social media and will also be distributed for free to groups particularly sensitive to issues of immigration and integration especially of second generation immigrants, institutions, schools and community centers.
The kids in the band have witnessed the success of the project and have confirmed almost completely, their presence and participation in the activities of the 2014-2015.
At the same time, as proved by the wide press coverage and awards received, the project has proven to be an extraordinary vehicle for the promotion of values such as dialogue between different cultures, the value of a multicultural society, of solidarity and, more simply, the awareness that the mix of different cultures can create joy and beauty.
After the "Sympathy Award" (Premio simpatia) received in May at the Rome City Hall (Campidoglio), in September Piccola Orchestra di Tor Pignattara received an additional award as prove of a successful job: The "Culture against the Mafia" (Cultura contro le mafie) awarded by the association "daSud" working for promoting the rule of law and the rights and awarded a special mention to the project "as a defense of legality in Tor Pignattara”. The award was given at Faenza to the project manager Domenico Coduto, on the occasion of the Meeting of Independent Labels in the presence of the public and sector’s operators from all over Italy.
The promotion of the project led to interesting results, numerous local and national media have dealt with the Piccola Orchestra di Tor Pignattara.


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