A music school in the city of Puebla is the breeding ground for successful career professionals, bringing a new reality to children in marginalized communities.
Cecamba is part of an educational and social program created by the state Secretariat of Arts and Culture in the year 2000 and its current director is David Pérez Olmedo, who learned to love music as a child in the halls of the institution.
Now 30, Pérez followed his musical studies at Cecamba and then carried out studying in the United States. The path that started in Puebla led him to conduct several symphonic orchestras in Mexico and around the world.
Along with his duties Cecamba, he is also the director of the Symphonic Band of the Secretariat of the Navy.
In its almost 18 years, Cecamba has instructed close to 3,000 young students from eight highly marginalized rural municipalities in the mountains of the state.
The school currently has 600 students from towns and villages in Cuetzalan, Tlacuilotepec, Ciudad Serdán, Santa Catarina Los Reyes, Santa María Chigmecatitlán, Santa Clara Huitziltepec, Santa Ana Coahuitlán, San Pablo Anicano and Huaquechula.
In the sierra, Pérez told the newspaper El Universal, music is “found everywhere.” Traditional brass bands are an intangible representation of the country’s culture, he remarked.
One of the goals of Cecamba’s music instruction program is to give the youths that belong to the brass bands a formal education, and to “give them the opportunity to get to know realities different from those of their communities, all through music.”
Many of the children come from families where the father or the grandfather also were part of a brass band. Cecamba formalizes the traditional education they have received by teaching them to read sheet music and allowing them to meet children from similar bands but from other parts of the country.
Even though it was created for students between the ages of eight and 18, Cecamba can cater to younger and older students, depending on the traditions and customs of their places of origin.
The towns’ musical repertoires are included in the teaching plan, giving teachers and musical directors the chance to learn from the locals.
The musical, educational and social program at Cecamba has allowed many children to leave their communities and seek professional opportunities.
Many have gone on to become physicians, agronomists or teachers and some, like Pérez himself, return to their place of origin to give the younger generations a better shot at the future.
Source: El Universal (sp)