Their backgrounds couldn’t be more different. WIU Wind Ensemble members are largely middle class Americans from the flat expanses of Midwestern farmland. They’re completing degrees at a respected university and will soon be earning tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Their counterparts come from Latin America’s largest shantytown, Rocinha, where families earn an average of $300 a month and live in homes literally stacked one on top of another, rising high into the mountains on Rio’s coast. The bands’ members speak different languages and live in opposite hemispheres, but they share one thing in common: a love of music.
Last Friday, the bands combined for performances at a Rocinha music school and an adjacent warehouse-type building where local residents spend several months each year preparing for Brazil’s famous Carnival parades.
Below, watch a video of WIU percussionists joining the Rocinha band, then the WE playing the Brazilian national anthem.