Once in a while, we see something that is so inspiring and magical, that it blows us away. That’s what happened to me last night when we watched a piece we had taped on “60 Minutes” about a little orchestra in the middle of the Congo.
As we watched the story, my mouth fell open, my eyes went wide. I was, in a word, stunned.
There are people who do good works in this world. I was so proud of myself when I started mentoring a young lady, but let me tell you, when you see people like Armand Diangienda, you realize that we need to do a lot more. What we do is absolutely nothing compared to this guy. He is a wonder, a leader, an icon and a powerhouse of inspiration and strength. I am humbled by his generosity of his time and his talents.
Armand didn’t know anything about music. He taught himself. He then taught himself how to play the saxophone and the violin. And then he decided to teach others – in the middle of Kinshasa, a very poor area in the Congo. He now has an orchestra of 200 people who would blow you away in any formal concert hall anywhere in the world. All of the musicians have no musical training before they walk into Armand’s door. They do it gladly, willingly, with extreme effort and enthusiasm. And they do it for free.
This one man has created an escape for a group of people who live in extreme difficulty. Through music, they have found joy, self-esteem, community and triumph.
Please watch the video or read the story. I hope you will be as moved as I am.
And I encourage you to give. $10, $20 – whatever you can give. To say it is a worthy cause is an understatement.
Here’s more info:
For more than fifteen years now, the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste (OSK) and its choir have been playing and singing classical music under rough conditions, propelled only by their passion for this music and the firm will to participate as the only symphonic orchestra in Sub-Sahara orchestra at this world cultural heritage. Our aim is to help them and others in Kinshasa to perpetuate this dedication by building up a professional institution for learning and performing classical music.
What is the issue, problem, or challenge?
For many musicians, the OSK is the focus of their life despite of the complete lack of appropriate space for teaching, learning and playing classical music. In Kinshasa, OSK musicians can only practice after hazardous rides in overcrowded broken down minibuses or after walks over hours at the private house of the conductor of the OSK, Armand Diangienda, in four small hot and noisy rooms or in the courtyard. Also, there is no professional teaching in classical music available in Kinshasa.