Harping for Harps
Our work has spanned over 5 years
Known for her passion for teaching, in 2014 Gianetta was invited to do volunteer work with two social music projects in Brazil
Known for her passion for teaching, in 2014 Gianetta was invited to do volunteer work with two social music projects in Brazil; one in the mountainside slums of Rio de Janeiro and in the poor rural country-side of the same State. Neither of these well-established projects had harps as the cost was prohibitive. In response, Gianetta began her Harping for Harps fundraising initiative which resulted in a first purchase of 3 small harps to donate to the projects. As of fall 2018, donors' generosity has facilitated the donation of another 5 harps which are being used in in four different social projects. About 25 students are now having regular lessons and are also playing in their respective project orchestras.
In 2015, she spent 5 months in Rio establishing the two harp programmes, teaching young students from the projects as well as preparing two teaching assistants to carry on the work after her return to Canada. During that time, she was humbled to witness the dedication of the children who had come from such difficult circumstances. Some of them walk or travel as much as 2 hours every day just to practice on their instruments! The potential of these children is immense and it was incredibly gratifying to see them all blossom in various ways.
When at home in Canada, Gianetta maintains close contact with the children and when possible teaches them via skype to keep them on track. She also returns to Brazil each year to work directly with the original students as well as start new ones. The ongoing Harping for Harps fundraiser has made it possible to donate 8 harps to date.
A first pedal harp has recently been donated and will make the big journey south in the spring of 2019! Besides the time commitment, carrying on this volunteer work also requires a substantial financial investment and Gianetta is grateful to the NGO Brazil Strings (https://brazilstrings.org/) who have helped to cover a portion of her personal expenses.
After less than two months of lessons two students of ASMB gave their first live performance in a trio with Gianetta performing “The Girl from Ipanema.” Media coverage in Brazil of Gianetta’s work resulted in invitations to teach in other projects like NEOJIBA in the city of Salvador and ever more students benefiting from the generosity of supporters in Canada in ways that are truly changing lives.
Links to one TV report, in Portuguese and also Calgary AB, Global News
Looking forward, we see a bright paths ahead. Harps are being locally made, more students are joining the programs and we are reaching further into Brazil, bringing new teachers aboard.