American Children’s Orchestras for Peace Music Festival
“Children for Peace”
American Children’s Orchestras for Peace (ACOP) held its 2nd Annual “Children for Peace” Music Festival. The Music Festival was a showcase for the children to shine as it featured a “Children for Peace” Parade, a Dove Release Ceremony, ACOP Little Idols competition from children of different schools, as well as free meals for the children and plenty of fun games and activities. The main intention of the festival was to promote and provide opportunities between children from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, regardless of social and economic barriers to build cultural understanding and good will and to create peace and harmony for the community.
The festival began with a “Children for Peace” Award Ceremony in which Dr. Michael Nobel, ACOP’s Chairman of the Board, recognized prominent community leaders with an award for their continued support to ACOP’s music programs. Award recipients included Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen as well as Mayor Manuel Diaz, Commissioners Joe Sanchez and Bruno Barreiro, Mr. Dave Lawrence-Founding Board Chair of The Children’s Trust, Superintendent of Schools Alberto Carvalho, Miami Herald Journalist Daniel Shoer, Alex Gonzalez of Waste Management, and TV producer Frank Cairo.
The event was also attended by Commissioner Tomas Regalado and ACOP’s Board Members Dr. Rafael Diaz-Yoserev, founder and Vice-Chairman of the Board, Maida Santander, founder and President, Jorge Viera, Jorge Carlos Gachassin, Mirtha Gonzalez and new Board Member Martha Sanjurjo. They publicly expressed their solidarity with ACOP’s mission throughout the community, but most of all to the underprivileged children of Miami-Dade. ACOP is all about Love, Music, Peace and Helping Kids.
After the ceremony, the festival officially opened when prominent community leaders, along with ACOP’s children, their parents and friends held a symbolic march for peace, also known as “Children for Peace” Parade followed by a dove release ceremony. The music festival was hosted by TV and radio personalities, Gilberto Reyes and Miguel Gonzalez, also known as “Los Fonomemecos”.
The children of ACOP’s programs were able to showcase their talent by participating in various music performances. Shenandoah Elementary performed ‘Oye Como Va’ with Tito Puente Jr., son of Tito Puente Sr., the famous “King of Latin Music” and writer of the song. Other performances included new and upcoming songwriter and recording artist Ria, as well as Oscar De Marco, Marlem and “Parents for ACOP Orchestras” in which parents were able to perform alongside their children.
The ACOP music festival culminated with the widely acclaimed “Little Idols Competition,” in which children’s orchestras proudly represented their schools by performing their best pieces. The children of the Jose Marti Park Orchestra were unanimously voted as the winners of the competition. ACOP currently offers music instruction to students enrolled at Southside, Miami Springs, Paul L. Dunbar, Little River, Shenandoah and Santa Clara elementary schools. Additionally, there is a program at Centro Mater Child Care Services, a music therapy program for children with special needs at Creative Children Therapy and an open program at Jose Marti Park, where the festival was held.
One of the many high points of the 2009 “Children for Peace” Music Festival was the unveiling of the winner and finalists of the “Children for Peace” Logo Competition. The competition was a chance for children to create a logo to be displayed on the inaugural banner of the “Children for Peace” March. All children grades k-12, throughout the community of Miami-Dade, were eligible to participate in the competition. The design was adopted after the big event by other pro-peace organizations to express their commitment to Peace in the World!
The winner, Lucille Sanz, won a brand new desktop computer, and finalists Alejandro Otero and Yulneithiz Brown won bicycles. Participants were also asked to write one or two sentences on “Peace” to explain their work. Ms. Sanz inspiringly wrote, “Children are the future leaders of our world. In their hands we entrust our hopes for peace!”
American Children’s Orchestra for Peace (ACOP), is dedicated to the prevention of violence and hopelessness through the instructions of the universal language of music. ACOP’s goal is to provide disabled, underprivileged and at-risk children in hard to reach communities an alternative to poverty and violence through music. Providing disadvantaged children with instruments, free music lessons, and a positive role model on a daily basis our vision caters as much to the children’s artistic development as it does to the idea of music as a tool for social change and peace. Developing musical skills offers student’s career options and improves the quality of their life.
ACOP is funded by The Children’s Trust (TCT) and believe their music program most closely shows the positive difference that TCT makes in the lives of the children and the wellbeing of our community, particularly in our poorest neighborhoods.
ACOP owes a debt of gratitude to Franz Weibezahn, Luis Alberto Santander, Carmen Franchi, Founder of Entertainment Media & Communications, Gilberto Reyes and Miguel Gonzalez, Miriela Silva and the many volunteers that dedicated their hours. They have all been generous with their support.
Sponsors of our event included: The Children’s Trust, Miami Dade County-Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Miami, Miami Dade County Public Schools System, Jason Taylor Foundation, Dade Community Foundation, Rush Philanthropic Foundation, Leon Medical Centers, Publix, Waste Management, Palacio de los Jugos, Caribe Cafe, Mega TV, Clásica 92.3, and Versailles Restaurant.