Darrow Miller and Friends

Tchaikovsky From the Trash: Classical Music for Paraguay’s Poor Kids!

classical music instruments from trashRecently my daughter, Maryrose Young, sent me a short video of the LandFill Harmonic orchestra. The  inspirational video powerful depicts the imago Dei humanity of the poorest of the poor. Men, women, and children who live and work in a garbage dump discover the treasure of classical music, a little taste of the beauty God put in the creation!

“In the barrios of Paraguay, a humble garbage picker uses his ingenuity to craft instruments out of recycled materials – and a youth orchestra is born. Music arises and children find new dreams.”

The story reminds me of Larry Ward’s call for Food for the Hungry staff to “plant flower seeds in refugee camps.” Or Pastor Luke, from the Soweto slum in Nairobi, Kenya, challenging young people to see that “garbage” is gold.

Now we have a third narrative to add, the Landfill Harmonic Orchestra of the garbage dump in Cateura, Paraguay, directed by Favio Chavez. Listen and cry for joy with me,

This is a wonderful example of what we call the development ethic from Genesis: people using what they have, the resources in their own community, to add value to their world. At the core of this vision is the heart and soul of people, made in God’s image, acting creatively. In this story they are growing in their appreciation of timeless classical music and instruments, and sharing that joy with others.

Are you gifted in music or painting? Do you have a heart for people and families who are poor? I would challenge you to consider how God might use you this year to engage someone who is disenfranchised, disabled, or impoverished to open their life to the beauty of God. How might you help them learn to mimic His beauty?  Poverty is solved, not by outside money, but by awakening the incredible creativity and innovation of people, even in the midst of their poverty.

Use your creative imagination. If a 13-year-old girl living on a garbage dump can play Mozart with a piece of metal and a stick of wood … if a 19-year-old boy can reproduce Beethoven with  an old oil tin and a fork … what other bits of beauty could derive from everyday things where poverty has robbed so many of joy?

Who but an imago Dei creature could create classical music with garbage?

Here is more:

Landfill Harmonic at Facebook

The Cateura Recycled Orchestra directed by Favio Chavez, from the documentary Landfill Harmonic, plays with @BertaRojas

“Landfill Harmonic” The Recycled Orchestra Of Paraguay

Turning trash into musical instruments for Paraguay’s children

Watch, read and dream new dreams. Then go on to contribute in some way to wholistic development.

I end with the words of Favio Chavez: “Music causes children to connect and feel they are building something together. Our orchestra feels special because the children make beauty out of garbage.”

– Darrow Miller

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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).