Teddington and Vince Cable welcome Orquesta Sin Fronteras
Music project Orquesta Sin Fronteras (OSF) has been rapidly expanding and, with Vince Cable now on board as patron, is looking forward to upcoming events.
OSF is in the early stages of completing its own CD, with the donations from each purchase sent to help victims in third world countries who need serious medical help.
Lily Schlaen, founder of OSF, moved to Teddington two years ago when she started to do more activities in the area. She feels the community is eager for more musical events in the borough.
The organisation has liaised with other charities and played at Hampton Football Club to raise money for victims of earthquakes and natural disasters. It has also worked with a Muslim charity to raise money for a family living in Kashmir. The mother, Fatima, had suffered a heart attack over a year-and-a-half ago, which resulted in her needing heart surgery to fully recover.
An eight-year-old violinist who belonged to OSF used his entire life savings to pay for Fatima’s surgery.
Miss Schlaen says: “He brought all his life savings and donated them so Fatima could have her heart surgery.
“Now Fatima is alive, thanks to the pacemaker, people of Hampton and OSF concerts.”
To raise awareness and encourage extra donations, Fatima’s son sang in one of Miss Schlaen’s concerts, which was played on Skype to international audiences.
The use of social networking platforms has helped connect the audience with victims helped by Miss Schlaen’s company.
She says: “We encourage people who have been helped to participate and to offer a song or some words - hence we connect via Skype so the audience can see who they are helping.”
OSF will host an event at 5pm on Saturday, June 30, at Teddington’s Fitness First gym.
There will be a mixture of musical talents from in and around the Teddington community, including OSF’s four new solo violinists, Francis Wilson, a pianist and teacher in the area, and Nina Gerstenberger, a singer and songwriter.
Other talents include artist and singer Aloyse Raptopulous and performers as young as eight.
She says: “We are performing in different people’s homes, inviting the community to join us with music, food and great company.”
Miss Schlaen describes her previous concerts as a “great success” and will be organise another in September.
Her previous concert at Hampton Football Club involved participants of all ages, with a mix of classical, jazz, world, pop and rock that got everybody up on their feet.
Miss Schlaen says: “The ones who stayed until the very end and were not keen to leave were a group of elderly women from an old people’s home.
“This experience helped me realise the great need people have to be in a relaxed environment, where they feel accepted and allowed to enjoy life at its fullest.”
Thanks to the compassionate work of Miss Schlaen, OSF has helped unite residents to enjoy good music and, at the same time, contribute to a worthy cause.
Miss Schlaen says: “There is much, much more to come and the idea is to create a model of vibrant, active, community life with the sound of music, which I feel brings joy, depth and compassion to our lives.”