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Another Oaxaca youth orchestra will benefit from a donation courtesy of Metallica. Another Oaxaca youth orchestra will benefit from a donation courtesy of Metallica.

Oaxaca music students get their stolen instruments back

After being discovered, the thief returned the instruments

After the theft of musical instruments from a youth philharmonic band, the halls of the community center in a Oaxaca community fell quiet. But now the instruments have been recovered and the students can get back to practicing their music.

The community of Santa María Tlahuitoltepec discovered the identity of the thief, a resident, through an internal investigation. After being outed, the thief returned the instruments at a community meeting and was sanctioned.

The instruments were taken on June 29 when the thief broke into the Santa Ana-Ne’äm community center, stealing a clarinet, two saxophones, four trumpets and three trombones. The community, located east of Oaxaca city in the Sierra Mixe, is home to the indigenous Mixe people.

The incident was not the first musical heist for a Oaxaca youth band. In December 2019, 26 instruments — worth half a million pesos — were stolen from the Philharmonic Band of San Pedro and San Pablo de Ayutla, another Mixe community. In that case, the instruments were replaced by funds raised through social media donations.

Now, that same band will benefit from another, high-profile source of funds: the proceeds from a Metallica song. The heavy metal band’s 30th anniversary disk, The Black Album, includes covers by more than 50 artists. Every artist chose an organization that would benefit from the proceeds of their cover.

El Instituto Mexicano de Sonido, which covers the song Sad but True, chose the San Pedro and San Pablo de Ayutla philharmonic band as its beneficiary.

Other causes supported by the album include UN Women, Save the Children and the Nashville Rescue Mission.

With reports from Milenio and El Universal

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