You can contact us at: email@example.com
Mayumi Suzuki - Project Coordinator and Treasurer
Mayumi was born in Yokohama, Japan and came to Brazil as the director of the Children’s Resources international program to volunteer her time, teaching the young children involved with Recicrianca. She has a degree in psycho-pedagogy and sings in the women’s chorus of Canoa Quebrada. Ms. Suzuki created the Associacao Criancas de LUZ (Children of Light) which sponsors this project. One of her great accomplishments was raising funds for a community center where music classes and performances are housed.
Maestro Artur - Staff Musical Director
Maestro Artur has performed on many stages in the Northeast of Brazil and is a talented, trained music educator. He is committed to teaching, organizing local music events and crafting the direction of the music education program.
Waldir Carbonato - Volunteer Instructor
Waldir as been the percussion, guitar and bass instructor since 2009 as a volunteer. Originally from Brasilia, Waldir is passionate about music! He plays music locally in Canoa and does individual and group instruction with the children in the village.
Andrew McKleroy - Director
Andrew is a Bay Area musician with strong ties to the northeast of Brazil. In 2000, he traveled to Brazil and subsequently fell in love with the people of Canoa Quebrada. He has returned off and on for the last 5 years, gradually becoming an active member of the small community. He has worked with various non-profit and community organizations always with the intention of returning to Brazil and serving the community and culture that he loves so much. He is currently pursuing an urban studies degree at Merritt College.
Some background on how project founder Nina McKleroy got things started:
Music for Canoa is the brainchild of Nina McKleroy, an enthusiastic, young woman from the northeastern region of Brazil. Nina, grew up in the small fishing village of Canoa Quebrada, Ceara with 6 brothers and sisters. Nina is a determined soul who started working in restaurants and hotels when she was 12 years old to support her family. Despite economic hardships and limited opportunities, she continued her studies and found time to participate in a youth music program/band where she played tenor and alto saxophone. This opportunity to study music and perform was the highlight of her teenage years. The supportive community that the band provided and the dreams that she would realize through it, would forever change her life. The group offered her a rare chance to travel and the possibility to express her self in new creative ways. The students developed a new sense of self-confidence and discipline that gave them a desperately needed defense against the growing perils of drugs and prostitution being brought into Canoa by the expanding tourist economy.
Fittingly, while performing with the band one night in July her life would change forever. That night she met her future husband, Andrew McKleroy, and would leave for Oakland, California shortly thereafter, to start a new life and pursue new opportunities. Sadly, a year or so after her departure the music program began to come apart at the seams and would eventually totally disband, leaving behind a number of rusting instruments as a stubborn reminder of the lives that had been inspired and sheltered by the music.
Never forgetful of the possibilities the music program opened for her, Nina decided to start a project that would provide opportunities for Brazilian youth and give new life to music in Canoa Quebrada. She envisioned a bigger program with funding coming from her new community in California. With this in mind she began to draft her committed friends and family in California to develop a mission and fund-raising strategy. With the sponsorship and guidance of the Dreamscanbe foundation the vision began to become more and more of a reality. The outcome of all the hard work was a brilliant benefit event that took place on June 5th, 2005 at Club Mighty SF.
With the first half of the groundwork underway, Nina and Andrew journeyed back to Nina's home in the northeast of Brazil in order to work with the community in creating a curriculum and vision that would be sustainable and distinctly theirs. The future program leaders and teachers were immediately drawn to Nina and Andrew and the Music for Canoa staff held its first meetings in August, 2005. Jandira Souza, a retired music professor from Pernambuco, took on the director position and Mayumi Suzuki, a Japanese kindergarten teacher and NGO veteran became the project's treasurer. After deciding on a preliminary three part curriculum including a chorus, musical ensemble/orchestra and a rhythm and percussion class, the music teachers were sought out and four new committed staff members came on board. Kelma Anjos, a former leader of the Canoa orchestra, and Eduardo Anjos, a multi-instrumentalist and former band leader, became the music ensemble Maestros. Eva Castro, a Waldorf methodology teacher and community leader took on the Chorus leader role and Marcos, a percussionist and music enthusiast became the rhythm and percussion teacher. Andrew McKleroy and Nina McKleroy, would become the president and secretary, respectively, assuming the fundraising responsibilities of the project.