Music for Milk

By Shirley Roberts

Published in the Majorca Daily Bulletin
on Tuesday 9th August 2016
As the beautiful summer life of the Island of Majorca continues it masks some real life problems.  The school holidays that last for over twelve weeks traditionally have a nutritional problem which affect the lives of many hundreds of children.  The poverty and subsistence level of many families on this island mean that the children miss having their school dinners.  This three course balanced meal eaten at 2 pm every day in our schools is often the only full meal some children get. This a huge problem for families without income who are dependant on charity and the church to feed their families.
Families on the next income level also find this time very stressful as in the school world their low level of income entitles them to free school meals.  In the holidays they have to find the food for their children and they struggle to provide for their families and often go without food themselves so that the children get what there is. The Obra Social La Caixa is an organisation with a huge social conscience and they are seeking to help with a commitment to making sure that all children in Majorca get plenty of milk every day.  They have an advertising slogan that introduces the Milk Moustache and all the benefits to health that milk has.  They started a campaign in June to make sure that no child went without milk.  At that time, you could take milk into the La Caixa Banks for collection by the food banks.  That initiative has stopped now but you can still donate online to the Milk charity to make sure this nutritious pipeline does not dry up.
In Soller we have around 400 families who are relying on the services of the Red Cross, Soller Social Services, Caritas and the local churches.  The children of these families are especially vulnerable and often hungry.  This is a challenge to everyone in this place because the Soller Valley is full of those who are willing to accept that it takes a community to raise a child. The milk project is well used here and milk moustaches are a feature of most children’s days.
The summer gluts of fruit and the kindness of local hotels and restaurants supplying the food banks means that everyone is doing what they can here.  Sollerweb came across some sad families this week and resolved that we should do what we could and do it fast.  Hungry children can’t wait till the paperwork is in order and the bureaucracy is correct.
Music for Milk is our contribution and the speed at which we have been able to put a Pop Up Concert together is amazing.  With the support of the Town Hall and their provision of a venue in the Escolapies cultural Centre of Soller our very own Milk Aid has rolled into the City. It all takes place on Wednesday 10thAugust 2016 at 8 pm. The musicians offering their support and talent has been amazing and they include some of the busiest talents on this island.

Molly Sterling is a name you may know because last year she represented Ireland at the Eurovision song contest.  She is a young singer songwriter who plays the piano and guitar and is musical to the tips of her toes.  Molly’s family live in Fornalutx and she is here right now recharging her batteries before a full programme of winter performances throughout the world. Molly will be performing in Majorca for the very first time for Music for Milk and we are thrilled she is giving up her time for us.

Lynn Gadosh is a local voice who takes us from Country to Swing and this summer she and her friends from the group Aura Veus sang in the Gorge of Sa Colobra and enjoyed the honour of such an occasion. They are more than happy to give their time for Music for Milk on Wednesday and Lynn will be partnered by Txumi who the Sollerics know very well.

Suzanne Bradbury is the Soller Valley’s famous concert pianist. With regular performances in worldwide concert halls her time in her home base of Soller is used nurturing the talent and accompanying many of the young musicians.  Suzanne’s musical life here is unique in that she has special dispensation to play the wooden organ in Deia Church.  An honour given to very few but hers because of her prodigious talent and her use of this special instrument over many years.

Waltraud Mucher is based in Soller but she is claimed by the auditoriums of Mallorca.  She is a soloist for a number of the prestigious choirs of Mallorca and sings her way round this island in prestigious productions.  She is also the teacher that everyone loves and her Movicanto classes in Soller inspire people who believed they couldn’t sing a note to find their voice. A Mezzo Soprano with a full range of musical styles from opera to jazz who just loves what she does.

Fiona Stuart-Wilson is a classical trained soprano with a current passion for early music.  She created the Arch Dukes Consort musical ensemble and they are bringing Early Music to a new, very receptive audience. Fiona has a musical career full of exciting contacts that often turn up and sing with her in Soller.  The whole place has been enhanced by the enthusiasm for music and the different genres we are exposed to through our talented Solleric friends.

The Georgie Insull Singers are Solleric because they regularly perform charity concerts in Soller and some of their singers live in the Soller Valley.  Since the choir began under Georgie’s direction she has raised thousands for charity.  This is what her choir does and she is proud to be part of this particular fund raising event.  A few songs and Lorna on the flute is the Singers happy contribution to Music for Milk.

Our Master of Ceremonies for the concert is the poet Paul Archer.  His job is to get this disparate crowd of performers into performance order.  He doesn’t know until the day how many more musicians are going to turn up and join this happy band.  He has probably got the hardest job of all but he will perform it with a smile and panache.
The old expression of ‘If there’s a will there’s a way’ has really come to life before our eyes this week.  Last Sunday this concert had not even been thought about and now with three days to go we are on a roll. Music for Milk is in our consciousness and is making us think about what else we need to do to help our community.  The affluence of Majorca is only skin deep and leaves the island when the visitors go home.  The challenge for us all is to find a way of offering consistent help year round.  Good food, milk and nutrition can’t just be the benefit of term times and the school’s input. The message of the Concert is to collect money for milk to continue to pour where it is needed.  It is also to enjoy the time, talent and music of our great contributors.
Please come to to our Music for Milk concert on Wednesday, enjoy everything and contribute to a great cause.  We look forward to seeing you there.

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