Friday, July 19, 2024

What began as a children’s choir in Coahuila is now three full orchestras

In the northern industrial town of Torreón, Coahuila, one organization is working to make a difference in the lives of marginalized children and adults, contributing to their personal development — and keeping them off the streets — with music.

And what began as a simple choir has grown into orchestras.

Founded in 2011 by artistic director Miguel Ángel García, DIME (comprehensive youth development) helps children and teens from poor communities develop physically, socially and psychologically through music.

The original idea was to create a children’s choir in Ejido Allende, one of thousands of farm communities with few economic opportunities. 

While working with the choir, the idea emerged to add instruments. They began with seven violins, found the money to buy seven more and later bought cellos. This became much more popular than the choir idea, which eventually gave way to orchestras.

A young violinist performs during a DIME concert.
A young violinist performs during a DIME concert.

As the program grew, one challenge became finding more music teachers willing to work with students from poor and troubled homes. This not only required technical skills but also a special kind of personality. At first there was high turnover, but today the situation has stabilized to 15 teachers working with 670 children between the ages of 6 and 15.

They belong to three fully-formed orchestras, as well as a fourth in development, operating in six ejidos, along with a children’s home, the municipality of Chavez and the Carolinas neighborhood in Torreón.

Eight of the 15 teachers are former child participants who can demonstrate the importance the program has had on their lives. About 30 students so far have earned music scholarships from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Torreón, as well as from the Rotary Club.

DIME’s success has prompted it to work with another vulnerable population – prison inmates. It has partnered with the state’s Center for Social Rehabilitation, an adult facility with a number of highly dangerous individuals, but one with programs and services not available in other parts of the country.

While still in the development stage, it is DIME’s most ambitious project by far, soliciting interest from over half the prison’s inmates. About 100-115 will be selected to participate, based on interest, talent and behavior. The main goal of the program is to foster self-esteem and a sense of community among inmates and is believed to be the first attempt at something like it in Mexico.

The program is soliciting donations of musical instruments such as those that are sitting unused in people’s homes.

More information about DIME can be found on its Facebook page.

Source: El Siglo de Torreón (sp), Noticias de El Sol de la Laguna (sp), Milenio (sp)

Have something to say? Paid Subscribers get all access to make & read comments.
Passengers wait in the crowded Cancún airport during the global Microsoft IT meltdown in Mexico.

Airport chaos and border bedlam: How the Microsoft IT meltdown is affecting Mexico

The IT outage that swamped Microsoft Windows computers around the world hit just as hard in Mexico, frustrating travelers of all stripes.
A man in a rain jacket points down at a channelized river below a bridge, full after recent rains.

Drought relents and reservoirs start to recover across rainy Mexico

As of July 15, the area of the country suffering from drought was down to almost 50%.
AMLOAMLO and Donald Trump walk down a red carpet in an elegant hallway. and Donald Trump walk down a red carpet in a long corridor.

In response to Trump speech, AMLO plans to send his ‘friend Donald’ a letter

"I think they're not informing him well about the migration issue and also about the importance of maintaining economic integration between the United States, Mexico and Canada," AMLO said Friday morning.