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Recycled Orchestra of Cateura to Perform at The Steward School

As part of the 2018-2019 Bryan Innovation Lab Visiting Innovators Program, The Steward School is hosting the director of and members of the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, a musical group of young people and children living in a community on the Cateura landfill, located in Asunción, the capital of Paraguay. The Orchestra was established in 2006 by environmental engineer and music enthusiast Favio Chávez as a simple means to keep kids from playing in the landfill. A critically acclaimed documentary, Landfill Harmonic, tells the group’s story, and the film director will join us as well.

The distinguishing feature of the group is the interpretation of musical works with recycled instruments made from rescued junk from the landfill. Built from tin cans, forks, bottle caps and other materials from the landfill, the Orchestra’s musical instruments feature violins, violas, cellos, double basses, guitars, flutes, saxophones, trumpets and percussion instruments. The Orchestra uses these recycled instruments to perform classical music, folk music, Paraguayan music, Latin American music, the Beatles, Frank Sinatra and symphonic metal music.

While on campus, Orchestra members will visit with Steward classrooms, sharing in discussions about music, world languages and cultures, sustainability, and engineering. Steward students will gain an understanding about how something as simple as music can transform lives, even for those living in precarious and impoverished conditions, and how the Cateura Orchestra provides children with an outlet to learn, stay in school, develop their creativity and access to opportunities to improve their future.

The community is invited to the following free events hosted by, and held at The Steward School (11600 Gayton Road, Richmond, Virginia 23238; 804-740-3394):

Monday, November 5, 7 p.m.

A screening of the critically acclaimed film, Landfill Harmonic, which tells the story of Favio Chávez and his journey of giving the children of Cateura the opportunity to create music from landfill trash.

Watch trailer: Landfill Harmonic

Location: Lora M. Robins Theatre in the Paul R. Cramer Center for the Arts

Wednesday, November 14

8:15 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Talk + Performance: Orchestra founder and director, Favio Chávez, will lead a discussion of this organization and the benefit it is making to this community. Juliana Penaranda-Loftus, director of the film, Landfill Harmonic, will join him. The discussion will include a performance by the visiting Orchestra students.

Location: Lora M. Robins Theatre in the Paul R. Cramer Center for the Arts

3:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Musical Maker Fair: The community is invited to participate in creating musical instruments with the visiting Orchestra students. Using trash from a local landfill, participants of all ages can learn how everyday refuse can be transformed into a musical instrument. There also will be demonstrations of the instruments being performed.

Location: Bryan Innovation Lab

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