Teaching music to street children

n the 1940s, Amando Bonzon Sr. founded the Pampanga Provincial Brass Band and was the catalyst for Brass Bands in institutions here in Pampanga. He started brass bands in several places such as Holy Angel University, Republic Central Colleges and also taught Rondalla in Holy Family Academy and St. Scholastica’s Academy in San Fernando.

When he passed away, his children took over his legacy: Hernando Bonzon, Ignacio Bonzon and Amando Bonzon Jr., under the name AP Bonzon Band.

At present, the Bonzon Band is now led by the 3rd generation musician of the family, Mr. Dareen Bonzon. The Bonzon Band is composed of the Clarinet, Flute, Alto Saxophone, Trumpet, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone, Trombone, Tuba, Lyre and Percussions. Dareen is the only one who teaches all of these instruments to his members who are all children and teenagers since 2004. According to him, he recruits street children and out of school youths to his band in order to help them get their education. Many schools are offering educational scholarships for members of the brass bands who regularly perform in occasions and celebrations of the institution.

“My father Hernando Bonzon helped a lot of children who cannot afford to go to school. I am now following his footsteps,” Dareen says.

“We practice at my home, helping these children to avoid drugs and crime, I teach them music and they are focused on playing music and not on other bad deeds. I have almost 70 members that I train now and I am having a hard time making ends meet for their meals, allowances and musical instruments, but with the help of God I am praying that someday other people or organizations would acknowledge the importance of helping these children and eventually helping us in our crusade.”

According to Dareen, music has a big influence in his life and treats music as a necessity. Music encourages his members too, most of them changed a lot when they were in music training. An example is building up self-confidence, having a sense of accomplishment, self-worth, a sense of belonging, identity and cultivating patience. He states that music changes their personality and molds them to become a better person.

To this day, Dareen continues to recruit street children, teach them music and includes them in the family of musicians.

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