Among the historic structures that surround Colon Park in the Colonial City, what was once a musical seed planted in the heart of El Conde to teach others the use of instruments continues to expand and bear fruit, and six years later has become an open-air institution to cultivate artistic interest.
It is the “Escuelita de Música del Parque Colón”, founded by musician Camilo Rijo Fulcar, which every Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., transforms the characteristic tourist spot into the stage of a festival of talent with melodies that come from the voices, chords and percussions of the students and teachers.
“The escuelita gives life, the escuelita saves, the escuelita heals, the escuelita is a thing that no one knows what it may become tomorrow,” notes Rijo Fulcar.
He also said that he hopes that the children who are on the streets today can be integrated into the classes and strengthen his motto that “one more guitar is one less weapon”.
The musician who in 2016 was diagnosed with liver cancer and has had to be treated even outside the country to stabilize his health condition, stated that the escuelita “is what keeps me alive”.
Camilo described that the guitar lessons that at the beginning were only with a group of between 15 and 20 students, have now become about 300 students who at no cost receive instruction from the 38 teachers they have.
Little guitar school
“Before we were only a guitar school, but now we have classes of more than 15 instruments”, said the musician, who expressed that they subsist with donations of instruments, expendable material and economic aids, which have allowed them to create a fund with which they remunerate the work of the teachers.
However, there are still shortfalls such as blackboards, benches, microphones, cables, a console, among other tools, but, according to Camilo, “the most important thing is to make an impact, even if it is only one life, with what we already have”.
Rijo Fulcar pointed out that two of the students were admitted to the National Conservatory of Music and they have a special program to follow up with those who want to follow in the same footsteps.
Camilo and his collaborators dream of bringing other schools to different parts of the Dominican Republic in order to contribute to a better life for young people.
“The plan is to fill the country. The same concept, free classes in the parks. And this could be replicated all over the world,” he said.
Although the escuelita has become an attraction for tourists and a potentiator for talent, Rijo Fulcar pointed out that he has met with politicians, officials and ministers but that “they have never sent anything”.
“What we do count on is the people who identify with this project,” he added.
The escuelita has a lot of moral support and attracts national and foreign visitors to the Colonial City.
Rijo Fulcar has met with political leaders and even with ministers who see very well the success of the free music school for the students, but they have never given them support for its maintenance.
They leave them alone
However, Rijo Fulcar pointed out that the best thing that the authorities have done for them is to leave them alone and allow them to do their work in favor of the more than 300 students who have demonstrated talent and the capacity to excel.