Well we were able to complete one half of the Malta Community Project before coronavirus shut down the world! And what a beginning it was! Filipe and I spent a packed 3 days in Malta working with a lovely group of musicians from the Maltese Youth Orchestra, as well as a large number of participants from the Maltese Active Ageing community, creating new material inspired by Mahler’s Sixth Symphony. Our musicians ranged in age from 15 to mid 20s, while our older participants – all older than 60 years of age – seemed more like the young people in the group (so much energy and silliness!)! For everyone, we were introducing a new way of working – one that draws on the collective intelligence and collaborative ability of everyone present, regardless of experience. For the musicians, this meant discovering new ways to improvise and compose together. For the older participants, this meant writing poetry and lyrics. We finished our weekend with between 7-10 pieces of music-in-the-works, a really promising place to pick up for part two of the project.
For part two, our photographer collaborator Bea M Barrio traveled to Malta to meet with the Active Ageing participants to create some photography and films around our theme of nostalgia and memory. Unfortunately, by the time she had done a few days work, the word came through that things were shutting down due to the Coronavirus. As we were working with older people – who are more vulnerable to the disease – we were forced to cancel the second half of the project. While Filipe and I made the decision not to fly to Malta in case we got stuck there, Bea actually did get stuck there for another week! She was eventually flown out by the Spanish government and is now safe at home in Madrid, doing self-isolation like the rest of us.
Although the project was sadly cut half way through, we are confident that it was a super promising beginning and we will definitely pursue a follow up project when the time allows. It was such a pleasure working with our colleagues Maria Blanco (MPO) and Christopher Spiteri (MYO), that we are already looking forward to our next project together.