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Instruments for Change – Landfill Harmonic

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

I absolutely love this…

I hope you can help my friend Janos Maté spread the word about Instruments for Change.

A letter from Janos Maté…

Life at times present us with opportunities to make a big difference with a little effort. We invite you to help make such a difference through the ‘Instruments for Change’ initiative, which aims to send musical instruments to the young musicians of the Landfill Harmonic Orchestra. If you have not yet seen the truly inspiring video called Landfill Harmonic, please view on either U-Tube or Vimeo.

The video is about a remarkable musical orchestra in Cateura Paraguay, where young musicians play instruments made from trash. Cateura is a slum built on a landfill. Playing music brings hope into the lives of these children. As one young girl says in the video “without music I would have nothing”.

The video inspired a simple idea. What if we could send some proper instruments from Vancouver, or the rest of Canada, to the children of Cateura. There must be so many unused instruments around…in our homes, schools, orchestras, music stores etc. We just have to locate them, gather them up and ship them It is that simple.This is not a unique concept. Over the years Canadians have been generous in sending various types of equipment to disadvantaged townships around the world.

A documentary feature film is in the process of being made about the Landfill Orchestra with the assistance of the Creative Visions Foundation. With the help of Cathy Eldon, the Founding Director of the Creative Visions Foundation, and Juliana Penaranda-Loftus, the Producer of the documentary, we have communicated with Favio Chavez, the Director of the Landfill Orchestra.

We posed two questions. Are they interested in receiving instruments from Vancouver? Would such an initiative take away from the momentum, creativity and inspiration behind the recycled orchestra?

Favio enthusiastically supports the idea. He sent a wish list of instruments and enclosed some photos. Favio writes: “the orchestra is a process that allows the children to access better opportunities that will enable them to experience situations of change in their lives. One such situation of change could be through access to better tools or instruments. The idea is that those who are now at a certain level keep improving, otherwise we will not be creating a real change. I see this as a process not a product…New young children are beginning to learn music by playing on recycled instruments because there are not enough proper instruments for all. These children are probably the next generation of the orchestra, once the children who are now in the orchestra are able to have access to better conditions to study and life.

And the story begins…”To make this happen we need the instruments, and some funds to cover the shipping costs. And we need a team of people. There are several ways each of us can help. Please consider:
1. Donating instruments or helping with the instruments drive.
2. Participating in the Instruments for Change organizing committee. We are just getting started.
3. Assisting in fund raising.
4. Spreading the word by talking to your friends and associates and circulating this note.

A follow-up step, depending on the level of support generated, could be inviting the Landfill Harmonic Orchestra to Vancouver. The orchestra has already toured Europe.

If you wish to donate instruments (in good working condition), participate or to talk about the project, please contact Janos Mate at, or 604-828-0687 (m).

Thank you for your consideration and for circulating this note.

March 1, 2013 Update
Instruments for Change was launched on February 15, 2013. In two weeks we have received offers of up to 80 instruments. These include flutes, violins, trumpets, clarinets, saxophones, a cello, orchestral xylophone, a guitar, an autoharp, and a baritone horn. Offers of instruments and funds have been received from Vancouver as well as Seattle. One of the instrument donors is Don Davies, Member of Parliament, Vancouver Kingsway, who is also a violinist.

New ways to donate instruments
Tag your instruments “Music for Change” and deliver them to one of the following Instruments Depots:
Prussin Music, 3607 West Broadway, Vancouver, 604-736-3036
Kilarney Secondary, 6454 Kilarney Street, Vancouver, 604-713-8950

How to purchase instruments for donating:
Prussin Musc has generously donated several dozen instruments. Prussin Music is also making available a limited number of instruments for purchase at greatly reduced prices. Donors can purchase instruments in whole, or make a partial donation toward an instrument of their choice.

Donations towards purchasing instruments can be make phoning Prussin Music. Please specify that you wish to donate towards the purchase of an instrument for Instruments for Change, and indicate if you have a preference for any particular type of instrument.

Discounted Instruments Available for Purchase from Prussin Music

The names of donors who wish to be listed, along with personal messages, will be forwarded to Landfill Harmonic so that the young musicians will see that they have inspired the world.

We’ve also started a Facebook page.
Janos Mate
604-828-0687 (m)

What about the water…

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

The Importance of our water is often neglected.

A dear friend and environment concerned citizen, Celia Brauer recently wrote an article for the Georgia Straight (online) about the importance of cleaning up our natural waterways.

Vancouver in the 1850s map from Vancouver – A Visual History

by Bruce Macdonald, with drawings and design by Celia Brauer.

June 3, 2010 online Georgia Straight article by Celia Brauer:

Backyard fish streams? Okay, but let’s clean up natural waterways first.

Here are a few excepts from the article…

the sad reality is that we have continued to grossly pollute and ignore the needs of the vast honest-to-goodness wild fish-bearing waters that surround us…”

“False Creek, which was once an inland waterway that offered food aplenty, now has richness primarily in the high land values of surrounding human development. While the waters are cleaner than they once were in the deep, dark days of active industry, the shoreline is still mostly devoid of life.”

“Should we not use our human resources and tax dollars to prevent further damage and to clean up compromised habitat instead of paying royal commissions to examine fish loss and funding environmental assessments for new developments that will inevitably harm wild ecosystems?”

Celia Brauer is a member of the Livable Region Coalition. She is a cofounder of the False Creek Watershed Society and works as a volunteer educating the public about the lost natural history of Vancouver, watershed issues, and the state of our wild Pacific salmon.

Arts and entertainment update on Norman Foote

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010


Energetic performer, inspirational songwriter, February’s Man of the Month on my blog and now the winner of a 2010 Juno Award for Best Children’s Album, Love My New Shirt…Norman Foote continues to be an amazing entertainer.

Norman has “perfected the art of turning life’s day-to-day antics with kids into hilarious songs and social commentary about the way the world has changed.”

To find out more about Norman or the new CD check out:

Norman’s website…click here

Dolly Hopkins Man of the Month feature…click here and then scroll down to February

Love My New Shirt on iTunes…click here