Posted by: Abby Rhodes | March 18, 2010

CESA performance softens hearts, motivates musicians

CESA (San Antonio Education Center) just outside Salvador

The WIU Wind Ensemble arrived in a rainy Rio Wednesday evening with spirits high as the group transitions from one incredible city to another.  Leaving Salvador was bittersweet as we were hustled from an event that many here are calling the highlight of the trip thus far.

Students at CESA, San Antonio Educational Center

The band performed in an outdoor pavilion/recreation court for a group of hundreds of underprivileged children at CESA, the San Antonio Educational Center, founded by a Catholic nun widely regarded as Brazil’s Mother Theresa.  Opening with the Brazilian national anthem set the tone for excitement as every CESA student scrambled to his or her feet and sang heartily along with the band’s lively rendition.  As a welcome addition to the Wind Ensemble’s typical routine, Dr. Shawn Vondran contributed rousing vocals to the band’s own national anthem.  After only two pieces, band members and onlookers were in tears.

WIU alum Steve Scherer with students at CESA

Students at CESA, a school for Salvador area underprivileged children

The performance continued in similar, emotional, fashion, with Brazilian students particularly thrilled to see some of their countrymen join the band during pieces that feature the percussion section.

Most, if not all, CESA students live in homes like these located in Salvador area favelas

Dr. Mike Fansler and CESA students

Afterwards, the school children swarmed the band, asking for autographs and eager to have photos taken.  Check out the videos below for reaction from Wind Ensemble members.

Dr. Shawn Vondran signs autographs at CESA

Yvonne Dean poses with CESA students

CESA student



  1. They all look so happy to be hearing the music and to be meeting the new people.

  2. I really enjoyed the response of the children to the music, whether it was clapping or rock’n out in place.

  3. the children look incredibly happy! smiles like that don’t happen everyday! has to be an awesome experience!! so glad you guys could take this trip and reach out to these kids! love the picture of Mr Scherer with the kids!

  4. Wow! These videos were amazing to watch. What an incredible experience for all of you and all of those children – they’ll never forget it! Keep up the great work. The WIU community and Alumni are very proud of all of you!

  5. I think it’s really something when kids who don’t have a sense or conceptual grasp of music still have the time of their lives’ when it’s simply played for them.
    It is the only real universal language.

  6. all the kids look so excited! it must be awesome to get to shared different types of music with them!

  7. It’s awesome that you got to share music with those kids. They look like they really enjoyed the experience.

  8. ahhhh! the children are so cute! i’m sure it was a great experience and something you and these kids will never forget.

  9. It looks like you inspired these kids so much, and they had such a great time! It’s amazing what you’re doing for them 😀

  10. this experience ust have been as life changing for them as it was for you guys. so happy for you all!

  11. Those videos really gave me a lot of insight. I think it’s cool that their own percussionists joined in, I’m sure that inspired the kids. I bet just listening to the fun, upbeat songs you played was amazing.

  12. Those kids are amazing they are so adorable! They look so happy to be there plus that one girl had the most beautiful eyes!

  13. These pictures are amazing!! The kids look so happy over something that a lot of us take for granted. It definately makes me even more thankful for the opportunities that I am given =).

  14. I think these kids are more than excited to be able to create music on a level like the Wind Ensemble. It’s so great to see them that happy.

  15. all those kids looked so excited! that must have been so cool to give all those kids the instruments that were donated.

  16. o my gosh those videos are amazing! it looks like everyone is having such a good time 🙂 i love how excited all those kids are to being listening to the performance

  17. What a great experience for all involved. Those children will never forget it either. We are so proud of all of you.

  18. looks like alot of fun cant wait for you guys to get back

  19. What an amazing experience! You guys had me in tears as I was watching the videos & reading Mr. Scherer’s post. How rewarding to share your gift of music with these children.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: