Lifestyles 55 Articles

Trudy Schroeder
Random Notes

Sometimes I find myself worrying about the future of Manitoba. I worry that we will never have enough resources to solve the stickiest problems that we face as a community. We can spend more and more on health care and on providing expensive tests and the latest equipment for diagnosis. We can spend more and more money on roads that forever fall apart with holes in them. We can spend more and more on police services and security, and prisons, and crime does not seem to decrease, and incarceration rates continue to rise. We can spend more and more on taking children into care and yet have huge issues of child poverty.

Participant in the Sistema program

It seems to me that so many of our community issues and diseases stem from poverty and despair. We can never provide enough health care and policing to deal with the impact of loss of hope and despair. There will never be enough funds to reasonably fund the sources of hope, transformation, and joy if we use all of our resources to stem the flood of despair in a band aid manner. All of our governments seem to be so mired in the problems of resourcing despair mitigation that they cannot find ways to help our society find its way to a healthier path.

This past Sunday, I attended a special concert presented by Sistema Winnipeg and local professional choir, Camerata Nova. This concert filled me with hope for the future of children from some of the schools in the most poverty-stricken areas in our community. The members of three Sistema Winnipeg orchestras played their violins, cellos, and violas with very lovely results. The audience members were inspired and moved by the presentation. The WSO’s Sistema program is now in its eighth season, and we are seeing excellent results in the lives of the children and their families.

Jose Antonio Abreu, the founder of the international Sistema movement, believed that teaching children life skills through learning orchestral instruments would build a whole series of intellectual, artistic, and social skills that would help to transform the trajectory of their lives. Abreu positioned the Sistema program as a social change program rather than a music program. He believed that “Overcoming poverty and adversity is best done by first strengthening the spirit, creating an affluence of the spirit.” I love the idea of programs that build an affluence of the spirit.

This concert experience made me think about the important role we play as generous individuals in our community. We can each choose a number of hope-building charities that we can support with special gifts over the holiday period. Think about the community-based groups that are creating life-affirming programming or services for children, youth, families and seniors. Make a gift that invests in the kind of community you want your children and grandchildren to call their own in years to come. It will make all the difference in the world.

Trudy Schroeder is the executive director of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

Author: Lifestyles55
Lifestyles 55 is a Winnipeg paper that provides readers in their 50s and older with information on matters affecting their daily lives.
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