«I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things have One” (Psalm 9:1).
Ever since I was young, I’ve loved the oboe, thanks to Mozart’s oboe concert and Sonia, the duck from «Peter and the Wolf, » by Prokofiev.
In college I had the opportunity to play in the band for a while. After several years of not having played the oboe, once when we sang with a choir together with the Entre Rios Symphony Orchestra, I asked two oboe players if one of them could give me lessons.
Very willingly, one of them agreed and, in addition to becoming my teacher, we became great friends.
He came from Venezuela and had been trained in The National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras of Venezuela, better known as «The System.»
Over a million children and teenagers, mostly from low income families, study, learn about art, play classical and popular repertoires, and are part of the system that trains them not only as musicians, but also as people with social, moral and spiritual values.
That entity for music education was founded in 1975 by maestro Jose Antonio Abreu, a great musician, economist, politician, activist and educator. Through his endeavors, he gave several generations the chance to be part of what has been described as «the Venezuelan musical miracle,» which has changed the lives of thousands of musicians in his country and the world.
Several countries have tried to imitate the model hoping to help its citizens, lower poverty and delinquency, and increase art, discipline, work and beauty. Because of the great dispersion of those talented hard-working people, many of our countries have received former orchestra members from The System.
More than once, my teacher told me how as a child he began studying until he finally played in the best theaters and concert halls in the world. «Music is what saved me, he told me.
That wonderful gift was created in heaven and will endure for all eternity. Just as those who have been transformed by The System speak wonders of it, today we can speak about the transformation God works in us.Music is a means to develop our character and it may be a means to testify today and praise our Creator even more.