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April 17, 2024
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Blue and White: The Empire State Building Lights Up to Spotlight The Andrea Bocelli Foundation’s ‘ABF Voices of’ Program

Written by Victoria Kennedy

On Monday, December 12, 2022, the iconic Empire State Building was lit both blue and white in recognition of the innovative music education program, ‘ABF Voices of’, created by Maestro Andrea Bocelli and his Andrea Bocelli Foundation (ABF).

The event gathered Maestro Andrea Bocelli, along with his family, including ABF Vice Chair Veronica Berti Bocelli, his children, Matteo and Virginia, and the newly-appointed Director of The New York Philharmonic, Malcolm Merriweather, at the Empire State Building’s Tower Lights. The group took part in a ceremonial lighting event and then went down to the 86th floor, which houses the observatory, to admire the breathtaking views of Manhattan and the neighboring boroughs. At dusk, the famed structure lit up the city’s skyline blue and white, the primary colors of the foundation.

Andrea Bocelli’s concert at Madison Square Garden was performed live on Tuesday night with his children Matteo and Virginia Bocelli to promote their Family Christmas album.

The symbolic moments marked a significant turning point in the journey of ABF, making for a truly special occasion for all involved. The foundation also unveiled its first White Paper, ‘A Unique Approach to Empowerment: Key Learnings From ABF Educational Projects’, which serves as a roadmap and charts the work performed by ABF since its inception in 2011. In fact, since 2016, which marked the launch of the ‘ABF Voices of” pilot, the foundation has elevated education, via numerous strategic projects, in Italy and all across the world.

“We were delighted to be in New York at the world’s most-famous office building to celebrate the incredible achievements of our choristers from Haiti, Italy and Ukraine,” said Berti Bocelli. “It has been a privilege to see our ‘ABF Voices of’ project grow from an innovative pilot back in 2016 into such a success story, evolving into a global educational model seeking to empower people and communities in need. I am very excited by our next chapter, ‘ABF Voices of Jerusalem’, which will commence in early 2023.”

Andrea Bocelli Foundation’s ‘ABF Voices of’

The ‘ABF Voices of’ program helps create choruses of children, all from socially, culturally and economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and implements unique methodology to help empower them and their respective communities.

An acclaimed education program, ‘ABF Voices of’, was developed to help unlock the potential of regional choruses in underprivileged communities. The program serves as an extension of The Andrea Bocelli Foundation, which works tirelessly to expand its mission of ‘empowering people and communities’ and introduce music as an innovative and universal language tool for inclusion. The ultimate goal, to help prepare the children to become true global citizens.

“I believe that music and art have the power to change lives. It’s what fuels us so that we may live fully, with passion and drive,” stated Maestro Bocelli. “It is especially essential in situations of poverty or catastrophe, when nurturing talent can often be relegated to the sidelines. Singing all together, in a group, means learning to exist side-by-side, in harmony, unlocking crucial tools for a peaceful coexistence, while at the same time underlying the fundamental importance of each and everyone’s role in a community and beyond, empowering our sense of worth.”

The ‘ABF Voices of’ program, created in 2011, features 60 participants who all officially graduated on November 29, 2022. Its success has hinged on some of the most-successful and awe-inspiring performances, including at the United Nations General Assembly, in 2016, and in front of Pope Francis at the Vatican, in 2017.

The global ‘ABF Voices of’ initiative was announced in 2018 at the UNESCO General Assembly. The program, which recently boasted a chorus composed of children from both Italy and Ukraine, ‘ABF Voices of Peace — Italy’, launched in 2022, while in 2023, the program will further expand with ‘ABF Voices of Jerusalem’.

The ‘ABF Voices of Peace — Italy’ features 37 children, ages 6-18, who all took lessons at the ABF ‘E. De Amicis’ school, in Muccia, Italy, and ABF ‘F. Corelli’ music academy, in Camerino. The children spent months of highly-specialized and intensive training to garner the ability to hone their talents, all the while, receiving a wealthy dose of education and culture. The chorus made its global debut at the annual Teatro del Silenzio in Maestro Bocelli’s hometown of Lajatico, Italy, as part of the show’s grand finale, a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The new year carries much promise for ABF, including a short film that will feature a special presentation from Maestro Bocelli, his family and a group of children from various ABF projects and ‘ABF Voices of’ choristers.

About Andrea Bocelli Foundation (ABF)

The Andrea Bocelli Foundation was established in July 2011 by the Bocelli family after being inspired by the affection and positivity received from fans and partners around the world. ABF has since grown into an independent non-profit led by world-class professionals that oversee the strategic development of key projects. The Foundation’s core mission is to empower people and communities in situations of poverty, illiteracy, distress due to illness and social exclusion by promoting and supporting national and international projects that promote the overcoming of these barriers and the expression of their full potential.

ABF implements and promotes education projects that leverages music as an additional tool for social inclusion and talent development, all in line with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda Goal Number 4.7. Since 2011, ABF has raised approximately 46 million Euros in fundraising efforts resulting in the construction of 9 schools in Italy and Haiti, as well as a project focused on transforming Italian pediatric hospital education, in total offering daily access to a world-class learning to over 20,500 students.

Additionally, ABF has created welfare projects that guarantee access to clean water and basic medical treatment to over 400,000 people living in the most remote and impoverished areas of Haiti. For more information, please visit https://www.andreabocellifoundation.org/ 

About ‘ABF Voices of Italy’

Launched in Spring 2022 as “ABF Voices of Peace – Italy”, the project was a chorus made up of Italian and Ukrainian children from challenging backgrounds. This unique project was created following ABF’s efforts to host refugee families fleeing the Ukraine-Russia conflict. Arriving in the Le Marche region of Italy in March 2022, over 10 families received accommodation, psychological and cultural integration assistance led by a team of ABF 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 with donor support from around the globe (Sarnano 2018, Muccia 2019, Camerino 2020). For more information, visit https://abfvoicesof.org/en/

About ‘Voices of Haiti’

In Haiti, in January 2016, the Foundation established the “Voices of Haiti” project by introducing music education into 30 schools supported by local partner, Fondation St Luc (these include 5 ABF-Fondation St Luc schools). From a pool of 12,000 students enrolled in these, ABF selected 60 of the most talented boys and girls to form the first “Voices of Haiti” chorus. The result was a multi-year training project for 60 students (aged 9-15 years) which provided the tools necessary to stimulate creativity and personal growth. With its first cohort graduating on November 29th, 2022, and still active today, its activities include weekly half-day workshops comprised of lessons, rehearsals, music therapy, play time and even meals, all of which has 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).

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