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<<  -- 3 --  Amanda von Goetz    MUSIC FOR THE PEOPLE


'It's going to be great,' exclaimed Harvey excitedly, 'we'll be doing everything; master classes, lessons, performances, collaborations with students, and collaborations with teachers. We're going to spend a week training teachers, doing workshops and master classes in Manila. Next we go to CASA San Miguel, where there is a center that offers low-cost music lessons to children. It was actually started by Juilliard alumni Alfonso 'Coke' Bolipata. During the third and final week, we'll be going to the island of Mindanao where we will work with the Cartwheel Foundation, which provides education to indigenous peoples. We're going to do several outreach concerts for them.'

Project III, slated for 17-29 July 2006, will take Harvey, cellist Ryan Murphy, and flautist Sarah Frisof to Zimbabwe, where they will partner with the Kuaba Foundation to conduct music composition workshops for orphans afflicted with AIDS. 'The Kuaba Foundation provides these kids with clothing, toys, medical supplies and school supplies. So we are going to go in there for two weeks, perform for them, and perform with them. We want to help them create their own music, where at this point, they may know very little of Western classical music. We'll also be guiding them towards writing music that is inspired by water, in order to call attention to Zimbabwe's water problems. And so in two weeks time, we're going to take them from never having written a note to becoming active young composers. We hope that this will have a positive effect on their self-esteem, and that it will be something they'll remember.'

I asked Harvey if he has ever encountered any adversities in his cross-cultural endeavors. After all, MFTP is not providing medical attention to places in need. It is not saving lives in the conventional sense, although it is, undoubtedly, enriching them. To this he replied, brow furrowed, 'It's a difficult argument to counter, but I must point out that we already have many wonderful organizations -- Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross -- many, many great groups that go over to developing countries to save peoples' bodies, to save them from disease, to save them from hunger. But what about their souls? Their souls also need saving and they need healing. And I think music really speaks to that, it speaks to the soul.'

'Right now,' he added, 'the only adversity I really face is in finding the funding. I mean, right now, you only see Music for the People in its infancy. Eventually, I want there to be dozens of projects all over the world. And we will match people according to where they would like to travel, and with which causes they would like to get involved.'

Harvey paused a second and looked down. 'As of today, I am still looking for the funding to make sure that all these projects are up and running properly. But in general, I will absolutely do as many projects as I can raise the money for.'

Playing a game with children in Farladani, Moldova
Playing a game with children in Farladani, Moldova

Noting my concern, he smiled reassuringly, 'Well, it is definitely an uphill battle, but sometimes these things have a tendency to work themselves out, you know? And when you're working as hard as we are to make this happen, we have all the reason in the world to hope for the best.'

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Copyright © 13 April 2006 Amanda von Goetz, New York City, USA


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