On November second, some students of Douglas Anderson (DA) high school were granted the opportunity to attend something special. At 10 o’clock, select students and staff headed to the DuBow Theater for a musical performance. Inside, the bottom section of the theatre seating was filled with chatter. On stage, a group of teens tuned their instruments. Many in the audience talked about this band, excited to hear this group from Paraguay.
The group, Landfill Harmonic, begins to play Viva la Vida by the British rock band, Coldplay. After the song ended, music director Favio Chavez, tells their story. On the group’s website, landfillharmonic.com, their journey is told.
“Landfill Harmonic follows the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, a Paraguayan musical group that plays instruments made entirely out of garbage. When their story goes viral, the orchestra is catapulted into the global spotlight,” said the website.
The group has gained worldwide fame, and even appeared in a film. Their journey started when Chavez and his students began creating instruments from the landfill of Cateura because they did not have enough money to buy instruments.
“I was surprised that they were able to make instruments out of trash. I had never heard of that. The quality of the instruments was really good,” said Trinity Bryant, piano senior who attended the event. Throughout the performance, the group brought up students to try out the landfill created instruments and even play a few songs with the group.
“It was a nice way to get the students here at DA involved in the orchestra as well, it gave us the chance to share our passions as well,” said Bryant.
Both the DA students and the students from Paraguay had the chance to perform together and create music despite the cultural and language barriers that they face.
“Regardless of the language you speak, you can still connect with music,” said Bryant in regard to the groups message. “In the end it was clear we were all just people with the love for music.”
At the end of the performance, the students and staff of DA gave the LandfillHarmonic a standing ovation of approval for what they do and what they stand for.