Members of Vancouver’s music community will come together at the Fei and Milton Wong Theatre on May 13 to support the work of Instruments Beyond Borders.
Since it was founded in 2013, the organization has sent about $40,000 worth of donated instruments to the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura in Paraguay and to the St. James Music Academy in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
“Our goal is to make a positive difference in the world, one instrument at a time,” Janos Maté, the founder of the group, told the Straight by phone.
The concert will feature performances from local artists including Ryan Guldemond, Jasmin Parkin, Colleen Rennison, Chin Injeti, C.R. Avery and Tonye Aganaba.
Aganaba said the artists will be sharing the stage in a workshop format.
"The whole idea is we want to show the collaborative nature of music," she said in a phone interview. "We also want to show that no matter what your background is...it’s possible to work together and create something beautiful."
Funds raised through the event will help the St. James program, which provides free, after-school music lessons to up to 200 children daily, to purchase more instruments.
Proceeds will also support capacity-building for the Paraguay orchestra, comprised of children whose parents make a living by scavenging a landfill. They construct their instruments from objects recovered from the site.
“It’s just so inspiring to see this happening,” said Maté. “Not only from an environmental perspective…but from the point of view of children being motivated to look to a more positive future for themselves.”
Aganaba said that while Vancouver is an artistic place, it's also a city "riddled with poverty", with many families unable to afford music lessons or instruments.
"The fact that St. James Music Academy takes it upon themselves to provde that is just fantastic," she said.
More information on the benefit concert is available at www.instrumentsbeyondborders.org.