A few days from now two groups of children and young adults will put on a four-day spectacular show of music and circus acts, “Voila!”, in San Francisco, Nayarit, a town an hour or so north of Puerto Vallarta. It will be the first time that the Puerto Vallarta Orchestra School (OEPV) has co-operated with the San Pancho Children’s Circus, an offshoot of Cirque du Soleil, and the show promises to be a fabulous evening for both the performers and those in the audience.
Now in its fifth year, the OEPV has transformed the lives of many children in Puerto Vallarta. The aim of this cultural project is to reduce social problems, crime and addiction by providing free musical education and social development to children who would otherwise be unable to afford it. The motto of the OEPV is “Building Citizens Through Music” and by giving the children and their families access to a social worker and psychologists to help with their problems the results have been impressive. The International Friendship Club (IFC) has supported OEPV since 2014 as part of the club’s emphasis on helping Mexican children reach their potential.
Hélène Garneau, from IFC, and I met with the Director General of the organization, Juan Pablo Félix, and with the Musical Director, Blas Torrellas last week and they told us that OEPV provides musical education to children from Pitillal, Volcanes, Ixtapa, Hacienda Buenaventura and Mojaneras.
About 120 kids attend OEPV in Pitillal where they can join either the beginners’ group, which is designed for children between ages seven and fifteen, or the Youth Orchestra, for those over fifteen. Piano lessons and guitar lessons are also available at Pitillal. In Volcanes the OEPV works with the Volcanes Community Education Project, another organization supported by IFC, and here around thirty children play in a band with trumpets, trombones and drums.
The OEPV choir of seventy or so children is hosted at the Hacienda Buenaventura and another group of twenty has recently started guitar lessons in the Family Integration Centre in Mojaneras. There is also a string orchestra of fifty kids sawing and strumming in Ixtapa. So altogether, OEPV is teaching almost three hundred children the joy, teamwork, discipline, concentration and co-operation that come from learning music and, at the same time, becoming good citizens. Juan Pablo, the Director General, would like to expand these programs to the areas of Coapinole and La Aurora when he has the money and the teachers to do so.
One of Juan Pablo’s responsibilities is to raise money for the organization, which is an “Asociación Civil”, so that it can pay the teachers, rent, music and instruments. There are twelve full-time teachers helping the kids in areas that include violin, viola, flute, clarinet, brass, piano, guitar and choir.
The evening performances at San Francisco (SanPancho) take place at 7:30 on 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th March in the Circo Bodega. The circus acts will be supported by the OEPV Youth Orchestra playing music to accompany the artistic and dramatic movements of the performers. Since the early days of circus, music has played an important role in the development of acts as it adds drama and intensity to the scene in the Big Top.
Tickets are $500 pesos (general seating) and $2500 pesos for Dream Catcher Fund Benefactors’ preferred seating. Tiered bleachers for seating ensure that every guest has a great view.
You can buy tickets online at circodelosninosdesanpancho.mx/en/events and pay for them by PayPal or by credit card. For other charities supported by IFC and the events offered at the clubhouse please see www.ifcvallarta.com.