250+ youth served ages 7 to 16
“I can see that the music has really changed the kids. They smile and forget their problems. Irma and the Orphanage Staff have been doing physiology reports of the kids. The kids in the music programs show a significant improvement in attitude, behavior, concentration, and working together.” -Professor Ovidio, LEAF International Panama Coordinator
“It is a dream come true to teach Ngobe Indian children music."
-Marselino Sanchez, Teaching Artist
LEAF International Panama began in 2007 working with Casa Hogar Trisker, a government-funded orphanage that looks after 25 to 40 children of all ages from the streets of Panama. Many of these children are orphans, others abandoned by parents too poor to care for them. LEAF International Panama enriches the lives of these impoverished children through music. Our Panama program includes a Music Summer Camp, as well as intensive workshops in music and art. Youth also have the opportunity to attend music classes at the local university, which provides scholarships for music lessons to dedicated students. The students perform at local public concerts and at the International Boquete Jazz Festival.
Through the project students gain:
- Guitar, flute, keyboard skills
- Latin percussion skills
- Folk dancing classes
- Vocal training
- Experience in reading music
- Art and jewelry skills
- Performance experience
- Increased self esteem
- Awareness of cultural traditions
- Leadership skills
Meet the Teaching Artists
Professor Ovidio, the leading coordinator, is a symphony musician with over 20 years of professional experience connecting youth to music. He teaches at the School of Music at UNACHI (Universidad Autónoma de Chiriqui). Professor Ovido is the founder and director of the UNACHI Symphony as well as the founder of Chiriqui Mariachi Band, and holds degrees in music and education.
Marselino Sanchez is a Ngobe Indian guitarist who teaches guitar in the Panamanian folk rhythms tradition. He works at Café Ruiz coffee processing factory up in the hills, and raises his grand-children. Years ago he suffered a leg injury, and his brother brought him a guitar as a diversion during his extended hospital stay. LEAF International’s Panama program gave him the opportunity to revive his love of music.
Andrea Arias Fallas is on the team as a Costa Rican professional dancer, as well as other music instructors including Humberto, Pepe Calavera, Professor Edgar Reyes, Gloria Naranjo & Jorge O'Brian Roseman Cajar.
“LI Panama is changing lives in a profound way. This trip reinforced my conviction that music has the power to transcend socio-economic, geo-political, or even self-imposed barriers. I am honored to be associated with such a powerful program."
- Steve Thompson, LI Panama Ambassador 2009
Watch the students in action: