Music Unites Worlds in Germany: Project "You always have a choice"

Peace Award Winner 2011, Categorie "Exemplary Organisation"

An unusual district musical project is run annually by the Bremen's German Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra and the Comprehensive School Bremen-East in cooperation with many inhabitants and initiatives from the underprivileged district of Bremen-Osterholz-Tenever.

It is about a search for meaning, about longing, poverty or power; about politics, friendship, questions about the future and reconciliation. And it is about music, dance, theatre and creativity. Since 2008 the Bremen "Cooperation Project OTe: You always have a choice" has organized and initiated extensive musical projects of a special kind. The internationally renowned Bremen's German Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, the Comprehensive School in Bremen-East and many inhabitants and initiatives from the underprivileged district of Osterholz-Tenever have joined forces to make music together and at the same time to deal with the special issues concerning one of the home countries of those living in the multicultural district.

Together the orchestra and pupils develop musical, theatre, choir and instrumental performances about life in general, social questions posed by the pupils, their families and countries of origin. In this way Goethe's "Faust II" was made into a mix of speech and chanting, the Afro-German musical theatre "Africa is on its Way" was created as was the musical "The Polski Blues" based on a novel by the Polish author Janosch. The elaborately staged performances take place open air or in a circus tent in the city centre of the district. The district of high-rise blocks on the outskirts of Bremen is home to about 10,000 people from 90 different countries. Intercultural life-style, large numbers of children, unemployment, poverty, initiatives and the commitment of 67 social institutions all shape the image of this colourfully mixed district.

The unusual relationship between comprehensive school, orchestra and district came about after the Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra of Bremen had found a new home for their rehearsals at the school in 2007. Since then, every year between 300 and 500 people from all social backgrounds work for months towards one common aim. They bridge social, cultural and religious barriers and experience how it is to change something for the better. In this way this project strengthens the self-confidence of all participants, those who live there and the entire shunned district, which is now the host for all people in Bremen interested in culture.



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