We were already sold on this nucleo when we heard the poetic story of how the courtyard in this village fills with musicians every afternoon practicing in the shade. It’s a beautiful and serene place next to a large Catholic church. The nucleo is two years old and serves 900 children with a variety of choral and orchestral ensembles including the two orchestras (Children’s and Youth) with 80-110 children in each. There is also an extension nucleo nearby in a very poor area which some of the Fellows visited.
I first went to observe the Pre-Infantil Choir with children from 1-7 years. About 35-40 children were all standing relatively still and on-task in three long rows, with an adorable toddler waddling up and down in between! This was the first time I observed team teaching in a choral setting: the roles of director, vocal coach, pianist and teaching assistant are apparent, and they do not necessarily fulfill the same role with each group they teach. The first half of the session was spent on warm-up activities which dealt with many aspects of vocal technique through fun exercises and games. The second half of the rehearsal involved singing some Venezuelan Christmas songs the children had already memorized.
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Sistema Fellow '14