Abril Georgina García Andrade, choir and orchestra member and writer, is the author of the play “Extinguished Lives,” which presents the problem of sex-trafficking to its audience. She explains that she wants her play to be a wake-up call for those who see it, an event that says to them “look, open your eyes, this is what is happening, and you have a responsibility to do something about it.” Indeed, she states that “what most gratifies me about this work is that it imparts responsibility to its audience.” And this goal is being reached.
As one audience member stated after a performance of the play at the CCBN, “it’s important that we leave here and take responsibility, women as well as men. Because sometimes we see things at home and we laugh, we don’t say anything.”
Along with a lack of extra-curricular activities, most Nicaraguan schools fail to provide adequate opportunities to learn about culture and develop creativity and artistic skills. Schools don’t offer music or art classes, and Nicaraguans have few opportunities to go to concerts or museums.
The Youth Arts Groups and Cultural Promotion program promotes access to the arts as both a human right and a means for human development. This goal is met through the formation of an advanced arts group for youth in each of the major artistic disciplines at the CCBN, as well as the development and promotion of cultural activities.
Ángel Torrellas Choir
The choir, begun in 1983 by Father Ángel Torrellas, OP, today numbers 30 and presents various concerts in Managua and other parts of the country throughout the year, including during Holy Week, National Chorus Week in September and for the Immaculate Conception and Christmas holidays. They are also an integral part of the CCBN’s weekly celebration of the Nicaraguan Peasant Mass. The choir’s repertoire includes Nicaraguan folk music as well as classical composers such as Bach, Handel, Mozart, Schubert and others. Participants learn to strive for excellence, not only musically, but in terms of responsibility, respect and solidarity.
Margarita Navarro Youth Orchestra
The orchestra seeks opportunities to bring music to communities with limited access to the arts and also enjoys sharing Nicaraguan culture and history through its concerts. They have participated in the National Classical Music Week, and play both popular Nicaraguan pieces and classical works. The orchestra is made up of about 20 young people who have graduated from the CCBN’s basic music courses, received individual instruction in their instrument, and have reached an advanced musical level.
New Dawn Dance Group
The advanced dance group is for adolescent graduates of the CCBN’s dance courses, and today has about 20 participants. Their repertoire is oriented towards the performance of traditional Nicaraguan folk dances. The dance group also performs around Managua and sometimes accompanies the choir and orchestra to performances in areas with fewer opportunities to enjoy the arts. The group often teaches their audiences the basic steps of their dances and the meaning behind their music, costumes, and movements as a way of educating the public about Nicaraguan culture.
Painting participants and graduates organize expositions, displaying their various talents and giving the public the opportunity to purchase their works. These exhibitions are often held in conjunction with performances by the other arts groups. Additionally, in 2010 the newest mural of the CCBN was painted by a group of current students. The mural’s theme is “Alegremia,” and it portrays representations of basic needs that contribute to children’s happiness and well-being, including air, water, education, art and food. By painting values-based themes, young painters learn about and help promote the CCBN’s mission, in addition to improving their painting techniques.
Experienced CCBN actresses and actors have participated in several cultural projects of local organizations in addition to those of the CCBN. During 2009 and 2010, the group gave over 40 performances of a play written by a young CCBN student. The play “Extinguished Lives,” presents the theme of sex trafficking, a horrible reality in Nicaragua, and uses a forum afterwards to reflect on how its theme relates to its audience. The group continues to use this theater-forum format to communicate a variety of values-based messages in coordination with CCBN projects, particularly focusing on themes of violence prevention. Their most recent work, called “A Certain Kind of Love Story,” presents the theme of domestic violence and was performed as part of 2011’s violence prevention campaign. The self-expression the youth learn through acting fosters good communication skills and builds self-esteem.
In 2010 the CCBN participated in a regional project to promote the “Theater of the Oppressed” methodology, developed by the Brazilian actor and direct Augusto Boal. This technique creates plays from the experiences and perspectives of people who face discrimination and injustice, and seeks to actively engage audiences in identifying viable alternatives to human rights violations. In 2011 the CCBN began a collaboration with the Federation of Associations of People with Disabilities (FECONORI) to create the VENTANA Theater Group using Theater of the Oppressed techniques to promote the rights of people with disabilities. The group has created two plays – “Butterfly Wings” and “From Nuts to Soup” and participated in the Second Latin American Theater of the Oppressed conference in Guatemala in January 2012.
The newest addition to the arts and culture offerings at the CCBN is the Children’s Choir. This choir’s goal is to meet the needs of younger singers who are at a different developmental stage than their counterparts in the youth choir. The Children’s Choir was formed in March 2012 and already has over 20 members. By beginning to work with these children at a younger age, they will spend ten or more years participating in the CCBN’s activities, receiving the opportunity for a full choral and personal development process.
Get involved with the arts by sharing the groups’ videos or attending a concert.