Bringing culture to the heart of the EU, by the EESC's Various Interests Group

Under the chairmanship of its President Luca Jahier, the Various Interests Group organised a concert on 18 October 2017 entitled El Sistema Belgium: ReMuA / Shake Young Orchestra and the Connect Ensemble. This was the first cultural initiative organised at the EESC as part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.

El Sistema Belgium: ReMuA/Shake Young Orchestra and the Connect ensemble ReMuA, a non-profit association, has been sending its musicians into schools in Brussels and Liège since 2013 to run weekly music workshops based on the famous Venezuelan project, El Sistema, with its group approach to learning an instrument. After a number of years, the most advanced children are now playing in the ReMuA/Shake Young Orchestra.

This vibrant, multicultural youth orchestra was accompanied by the Connect ensemble. Over a number of years, the El Sistema Belgium project has given hundreds of children the chance to start studying music and learn an instrument at school or in their local neighbourhood.

Learning to sing and/or play an instrument as part of a group becomes a regular part of these children's lives, with workshops of between 1.5 and 5 hours a week. Orchestra rehearsals are the expression of a community where listening, respect and the spirit of cooperation are paramount. In Brussels, the municipalities of Molenbeek, Laeken, Schaerbeek, Forest, Ixelles and Bruxelles-Ville are alive with budding, ReMuA-trained musicians performing in one or other of the El Sistema Belgium orchestras. (cl)