Edmonds Rotary Club supports world-renowned Paraguay Landfill Harmonic Orchestra

Gloria Burgess leading attendees of CAFE 2016 in singing Negro spirituals this past March.
Edmonds’ own Gloria Burgess leading attendees of CAFE 2016 in singing Negro spirituals this past March.


June 1-4

Seattle/Bainbridge Island

Music Tour

“The world sends us garbage… We send back music!” That’s the introduction one very unique Paraguayan youth orchestra—the Landfill Harmonic Orchestra, or Los Reciclados uses to explain its mission.

Edmonds Rotary Club is among the many supporters facilitating a four-day tour of the Landfill Harmonic Orchestra of the Seattle-Bainbridge Island areas.

The Landfill Harmonic Orchestra’s educational performance tour is presented by “The Lift Every Voice Foundation,” founded over 20 years ago by Edmonds resident Gloria Burgess and John Burgess.

Gloria knows first-hand what it means and what it takes to triumph over extreme poverty. Her family was the beneficiary of financial support from Nobel Laureate author William Faulkner who offered his gift with no strings attached. He simply asked her dad, Earnest McEwen, Jr., to pass his blessings on to others when was able to do so. That’s exactly what he did. Following in her father’s footsteps, Gloria and John feel blessed to live their motto—“Pass It On.”

The vision of Favio Chávez, Music Director of the orchestra, and Nicolás Gomez, a highly-skilled craftsman who makes the instruments, is to provide access to hope and a better life for the orchestra members and their families. Now known globally, the orchestra’s music is the portal to a life beyond the intergenerational cycle of extreme poverty.

What kind of inspiration does it take to transform discarded oil cans, plastic pipe, bottle caps, worn out utensils, and other refuse into violins, drums, saxophones, and cellos? It takes imagination, resourcefulness, and resilience. The kind of off-the-chart ingenuity and creativity that fuels the orchestra that hails from Cateura, a tiny, close-knit community that is situated right next to an enormous landfill. Hence their name, the Landfill Harmonic Orchestra. The orchestra will visit the Seattle community June 1-4 for an educational performance tour.

On June 2–3, the orchestra will be welcomed at El Centro de la Raza. They will offer concerts and community conversations at various venues in Seattle, including Providence Mount St. Vincent, The Royal Room, The Hearthstone, and Franklin High School. During their time here, they will also visit and tour several sites at Seattle Center, including the Experience Music Project. On the afternoon of June 4, there will be a celebration for the orchestra to raise awareness about what they’re doing, how they’re evolving, and how they will move forward with their inspiring goals. The celebration will be at the home of Kay Bullitt in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. The orchestra kicks off its tour June 1 on Bainbridge Island with concerts and conversations in several schools and Bainbridge Performing Arts. There will also be a showing of Landfill Harmonic, the award-winning feature-length documentary about the orchestra.

The orchestra’s tour to the Seattle and Bainbridge Island Community is supported by a number of organizations and individuals, including El Centro de la Raza, Call of Compassion NW, Providence Mount St. Vincent, The Hearthstone, The Royal Room, Franklin High School, Charter for Compassion, Seattle International Foundation, Northwest Center for Creative Aging, Ron and Eva Sher, Paul Martinelli, Attreo Studio, Love Wins Love, Bainbridge Performing Arts, Eagle Harbor Congregational UCC, BI/NK Interfaith Council, Jennifer Saez and Susan Lorenz—BainbridgeIslandLife.com, Perry Foundation, Town and Country Markets, Winslow Cohousing, Pyramid Communications, Edmonds Rotary Club, Victoria Trabosh, Tiffany Sandra Young, and The Lift Every Voice Foundation.

Connect, engage, and keep up with the orchestra’s calendar of events while in the Seattle area on the group’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Landfill-Harmonic-Orchestra-in-Seattle-2016-1717324591881724/events/.


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