Ecuador children’s orchestra shares gospel through music
The Children's Youth Symphony Orchestra, a ministry of the Ecuador Central Mountain District, is giving a voice to low-income children and pre-teens.
A little over two years ago, Mario Paredes, superintendent from the Central Mountain District, developed a program to start teaching children orchestra. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, they had 350 children across 11 churches enrolled in the program.
“The orchestra is a dream I've had for years,” Paredes said. “I believe in creating spaces for people to develop their abilities. When you give someone a responsibility, you give them a purpose.”
Most children in Ecuador would never have the opportunity to learn instruments that are so costly. Little by little, the instruments were purchased and a teacher was found that travels from church to church. Paredes contacted the director of the symphony in Chiclayo, Peru, and made him a proposal to help build the children’s orchestra from the ground up.
Paredes believes music is one of the best ways to share the gospel and help develop children who come from difficult backgrounds. He hopes to someday see them putting on concerts all over the world, so they can share the gospel through music.
“Music is the universal language,” Paredes said. “You can captivate people's attention through music; you can connect with them. We want to plant churches through music.”
Paredes also pointed out the effect that learning to play an instrument has on the children’s cognitive and intellectual development.
The pandemic has made it difficult for the orchestra to function in the same way. Rehearsals have had to be cancelled, and most of the group’s interaction has moved to Zoom.
“We have tutors in each church and they lead a three-hour rehearsal every day,” Paredes said. “We tried to solve it by sending the instruments home with them, but unfortunately, we can’t tell whether or not they are rehearsing at home.”