Elsa Barros is 14 years old and three years ago she discovered Generation Orchestra, when a group of teachers from CCA – Maria Amélia Laranjeira Amarante Cultural Centre promoted the project in a visit to primary school EB 2,3 de Telões, under the Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso school group.
Elsa embraced the cello, which she now practices for at least six hours a week, plus performances and concerts. She has also left behind the poor grades and bad behaviour she used to have at school. When Elsa embraced this project, she was failing several subjects. Last year, she managed to get four “4” and one “5”. “Without Generation Orchestra, I would still be a rebellious and poorly behaved pupil”, she believes.
In June 2010, Elsa stepped on stage for the first time. It would be the first of many. She has already taken part in a concert at Aula Magna and another at the Electricity Museum, both performances with the Generation Orchestra, in Lisbon.
Looking back, Elsa remembers her first trip to Lisbon, the rehearsals, the outings, the first night she spent at a hotel without her parents. She has visited new places and made new friends.
Elsa’s “new world” is still under construction. A travel book reminds her of her first trip to Lisbon, the President of the Republic sat in front of them listening to her play, her first night in a hotel without her parents. New places, new friendships.
Elsa is one of the 45 young musicians from Amarante, Murça and Mirandela who have just returned from São Paulo, in Brazil. They are between 12 and 16 years old and are all part of the New Generation Orchestra. Supported by EDP Foundation, this project aims to promote education through music teaching and the individual and collective work required within an orchestra, with a view to promoting social inclusion and fighting early school leaving and academic underachievement.
This trip was an invitation from Turma do Bem, the Brazilian NGO with a presence in Portugal with the project Dentista do Bem, co-founded with EDP Foundation. Turma do Bem invited the New Generation Orchestra to perform at the event Sorriso do Bem, which every year brings together hundreds of volunteer dentists who treat children and young people, without charge, in Brazil, 10 countries in Latin America and Portugal.
Based on this invitation, EDP Foundation designed an entire programme in order to recognise the value and promote these young musical talents, while also enabling them to share their experiences with similar projects. Among other performances, the New Generation Orchestra took part in a musical interchange with Guri Project, also supported by EDP in Brazil, within an initiative aimed at reinforcing partnerships and sharing resources.