The Choir – Made Up of Children from an Italian Earthquake-Ravaged Region Alongside Ukrainian Refugees – Make their Debut at Maestro Bocelli’s Iconic Annual Concert, “Teatro del Silenzio”

Lajatico, Italy (July 29th, 2022) – The Andrea Bocelli Foundation (ABF) has launched the “Voices of Peace – Italy” project, a choir made up of Italian and Ukrainian children from challenging backgrounds with the objective to accompany them on a journey of empowerment that will lead to the expression of their full potential. This unique project was created following ABF’s efforts to host refugees families fleeing the Ukraine-Russia conflict. Arriving to the Le Marche region of Italy in March 2022, families are receiving accommodations, psychological and cultural integration assistance led by a team of interdisciplinary experts on-the-ground. ABF has strong ties to Le Marche as it has built three award-winning schools and innovative education programs in the region following the 2016 earthquake in collaboration with public authorities and the support of donors from around the globe (Sarnano 2018, Muccia 2019, Camerino 2020). ABF is in fact still very active in the region with innovative programming within its schools as well as the development of a fourth project, a vocational center in San Ginesio, expected to be completed in 2023. It is within this context that the “Voices of Peace – Italy” was born.

The new choir is made up of 37 children aged between 6 and 18 taking lessons at the ABF “E. De Amicis” school in Muccia and the ABF “F. Corelli” Music Academy in Camerino. Following two months of intensive training program, the choristers have been able to develop their talents thanks to highly specialized training, while benefiting from a wealth of educational, cultural, and real-life opportunities. Indeed, the ultimate objective is to strengthen the students’ real-world skills, stimulate their creativity and offer them more choices to succeed in life. But even more so, to allow them to become flag bearers of a universal message of peace. Last night, the choir had their global debut with a special performance as part of the grand finale of Maestro Bocelli’s annual Teatro del Silenzio concert in his hometown of Lajatico in the heart of Tuscany, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for children who have been to-date faced with challenging situations.

Maestro Bocelli, ABF Founder, stated, “I am convinced that education – music and beyond – contribute to the only type of revolution one could hope for: the one within one’s self.” He added, “Educating talent, particularly in complex contexts where emergencies shift efforts elsewhere, is a courageous and essential challenge. One that can be considered critical since the art of singing together leads to acquiring and putting into action fundamental values for a peaceful coexistence, as well as the importance of the self’s role within a broader community.”
The “Voices of Peace – Italy” project is part of the strategic “ABF Voices of” program developed by the Foundation to promote opportunities for empowerment through the creation of choirs in socially, economically, and culturally disadvantaged countries and situations. Indeed, ABF works daily to introduce music as an innovative language to enable students to grow in harmony and have the opportunity to perform and approach the world of art and culture. This project is the evolution of the “ABF Voices of Haiti” pilot launched in 2016 and which led to performances in some of the most awe-inspiring settings such as the United Nations General Assembly (2016) and at the Vatican during an audience with His Holiness Pope Francis (2017).

The global “ABF Voices of” program was announced at the UNESCO General Assembly in 2018, and its next project – launching in late 2022, will be focused on empowering youth in Palestine.

Veronica Berti Bocelli, ABF Vice Chair, concluded, “We are proud to build on successes from our Voices of Haiti pilot for the creation of the ‘Voices of’ program. Starting with this noble and innovative initiative in Italy, we look forward to seeing how the development various projects around the world – including Palestine later this year – will help empower people and communities in need.”