IdeaMe is an online platform, which helps creators, be they inventors, artists, or designers, among others, to finance their projects through crowd funding. The Indy features and promotes one project every week, with the aim of helping the creators finance and achieve their dreams.
This week’s featured idea.me project takes us into the lively atmosphere of La Belgranense’s big band ensemble. Formed in 1999, this group of 20 musicians has dedicated itself to entertaining in a variety of locales that don’t typically enjoy such energy-filled performances.
Formed in the Temperley area of Buenos Aires, La Belgranense is a travelling act of good will and high spirits. At least once per month for the last 13 years, the group has visited rural schools, nursing homes, special schools, psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in Argentina in order to perform for those whose access to live music is limited by circumstance.
La Belgranense initially emerged as a dream of founding member Juan Carlos Pombo. Though he had not played trumpet for over ten years, Pombo asked whether a band existed at his children’s school in Temperley. He was given the go ahead to form La Belgranense.
“I sent a note to parents calling on them to play any instrument, and with the first five members, we organised rehearsals and got a band leader,” explained Pombo.
What began as five members soon blossomed to 20, comprising professionals who range from lawyers to engineers. Today, La Belgranense’s impressive line-up includes three flutes, two clarinets, five saxophones, two trumpets, two guitars, a trombone, a flugehorn, keyboards, percussion, and a recorder, among other odds and ends.
Beginning in 2001, in response to hard times around the country, La Belgranense formed a sponsorship with a school in Bella Vista, Corrientes. Now, every October, through the Civil Association of Patrons and Students of Rural Schools (APAER), La Belgranense travels to Corrientes to entertain groups of students, bringing along donations and a full selection of tunes.
“Our repertoire is varied and eclectic,” said Pombo. “It goes from tango and folklore to jazz and popular music, as well as a children’s repertoire, but I think that jazz is where we are most comfortable.”
La Belgranense also partners with the Claps Group, a team of animators who stir up the imagination of youngsters with everything from lights, sound, and projections to party favours, games, magic, and black theatre.
“It’s amazing the way kids appreciate our presence,” Pombo continued. “You have to come and see the their faces year in and year out. The joy is recorded in their eyes and hearts.”
With the hope of expanding their reach, La Belgranense has taken to idea.me for support in achieving its future goals. The group now seeks to divide its annual tour into three trips—one to the Province of Buenos Aires, one to the rural areas of Entre Rios, and the last to Corrientes—in order to include more schools and bring the big band experience to as many children as possible.
La Belgranense’s next performance will be 11th May in the Navarro zone, where children will be brought together from three different rural schools.
“We believe that to laugh, sing, play, have fun, and share is very valuable to these children, and valuable to us.”