The district of Metapan has a population of 344 people with roughly half of the community below the age of 25. Every year for Salvadoran Independence Day, the C.E. Buenos Aires school hosts the Independence Festival, which is the largest community event of the year. The purpose of the festival is to celebrate the country and take pride in being Salvadoran.
This project aims to use music as a platform for engagement and cooperation from the district’s youth. Music is a rewarding creative activity, and it allows students to not only learn new skills, but also delve more into the locale music culture and its relationship to their heritage. Through this project, a music program will be implemented in which the students will prepare a marching band performance for the Salvadoran Independence Day festival, playing both traditional and contemporary songs. Participating in the festival provides an empowering opportunity for the students to not only show their cultural pride, but to also showcase their new musical abilities. The project aims to increase music exposure for both genders, with a particular goal of inspiring more females to become involved in music.
The school’s music program increased from 10 to 30 students, reaching more girls and helping to promote gender equality. Students practiced twice a week for two and a half months in preparation for El Salvador’s Independence Festival. Equipped with their new instruments, students marched through their community during the Independence celebration, playing to a crowed of 200 people. In addition, the band played during a neighboring community’s Independence Day, as well as during a Children’s Day celebration.
Enjoy this video of the band performing!
“There were more instruments this year, and that was great. Last year I could not be in the band because there were not enough instruments and this year I got the chance to play the Bass drum. The community was in awe of us, and they could hear us loud and clear.” - Katherine, Project Participant
“Because of his interest in being part of the band, there was a 5th grade student who chose to stay in school this year. He knows he can get paid to work in agriculture and had been absent frequently to work in the field. However, when he got a place in the band, he was told that he could only keep it if his grades were positive. He is currently in progress of graduating this year, and has done all his work in order to stay in music.” - Claudia, School Principal