40 members of the Brazilian youth band Meninos do Morumbi arrived on campus Tuesday to visit the University and perform during the halftime show on Saturday at the Notre Dame-Stanford football game. In English, Meninos do Morumbi means “Kids of Morumbi,” the neighborhood in SÃ£o Paulo, Brazil, where the band is based. The students will remain on campus until Sunday and are lodging at the Sacred Heart Parish Center. According to the Notre Dame Band website, in 2011, 66 members of the Notre Dame band toured Brazil and performed for Meninos do Morumbi in SÃ£o Paulo, the country’s largest city and Dr. Ken Dye, director of bands, said he enjoyed the visit to Brazil. “They were very gracious hosts and shared their exciting music with our band,” Dye said. The band later invited the youth band to Notre Dame to perform and experience campus life. Dye is looking forward to the interaction between the Notre Dame Band members and the young performers from Brazil. According to their website, Meninos do Morumbi is a social project that gives youth an alternative to delinquency, violence and drugs through music. “We attend around 2,000 children and young from 22 slums of SÃ£o Paulo,” Ana Paula Costa, the band’s spokeswoman,said. According to Costa, Meninos do Morumbi has had 14,000 youth participants thus far. Musician and current director FlÃ¡vio Pimenta founded the band in 1996. “I originally invited children from the slums and poor communities found begging on the streets of my neighborhood to teach music in my studio in my house,” Pimenta said. “The idea was not and is not charity.” According to Pimenta, the band has greatly impacted the students’ lives. “Not only the music, but the experience of good values. We are a place for good values,” Pimenta said. According to a press release, the group provides an escape from situations of personal and social risk through many expressions. “We offer them a range of activities in the areas of culture, music, arts, education and sports,” Costa said. The band has performed for former U.S. President George W. Bush as well as singer Madonna, according to Costa. They have also performed in the United Kingdom and France. The band’s style of music interprets songs of Brazilian and African folklore. According to Costa, the youth play music from Brazilian genres including jongo, maracatu, funk and samba. Sandra Teixeira, a Notre Dame Portuguese professor originally from Brazil, is excited for the band’s visit. “The Portuguese and Brazilian studies program is very excited about this incredible opportunity,” Teixeira said. “The visit will share an important aspect of Brazilian culture, as well as our love for music and dance, with the entire Notre Dame community.” Meninos do Morumbi will participate in many events throughout Notre Dame’s campus. The band is holding a performance today and a Brazilian instrument and dance workshop at the Ricci Band Rehearsal Hall from 8 to 9 p.m. Thursday, the Brazil and Portuguese Language Clubs of Notre Dame will host a welcome reception and social hour in the ballroom of Lafortune Student Center from 3:30 to 5 p.m. “Besides having the unique opportunity to watch a vibrant and culturally infused show, students will be able to witness a very successful story of the determination and talent exemplified by these kids and mentors,” Teixeira said.
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan ClarksonGates acknowledged he still has not found a way to overcome the legal obstacles and shut down the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility where 285 suspected terrorists are being held – some for as many as six years. “I think that the principal obstacle has been resolving a lot of the legal issues associated with closing Guantanamo and what you do with the prisoners when they come back,” he said. “So, I would say that the honest answer is that because of some of these legal concerns … there has not been much progress in this respect.” At the same time, U.S. military forces have not found bin Laden, the man responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. “We are continuing the hunt,” Gates said, adding that progress will be marked by the day when “the president goes out in front and says that we have either captured or killed him.” Gates acknowledged that the U.S. is looking at adding a small number of forces in Afghanistan, where the U.S. already carries the largest share of the load with about 26,000 troops. WASHINGTON – In a year marked by progress in Iraq, Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Friday acknowledged two bits of unfinished business in his first 12 months on the job: He has yet to close the Guantanamo Bay prison or find Osama bin Laden. Gates held out hope that if security gains hold, U.S. troop levels in Iraq can drop through next year. But with a nod to the increased attacks in parts of Afghanistan, he did not rule out a small uptick in U.S. troops there. While Gates would not put a specific number on Iraq troop levels, he agreed a consistent reduction over the next 12 months would leave 10 brigades there – or roughly 100,000 troops – soon after American voters go to the polls for the 2008 presidential elections. “My hope has been that the circumstances on the ground will continue to improve in a way that would – when General (David) Petraeus and the chiefs and Central Command do their analysis in March – allow a continuation of the drawdowns at roughly the same pace as the first half of the year,” he said. The U.S. has been pressing allies to increase their commitment there. Gates said he is still looking for creative ways for them to do that – including meeting commanders’ needs for 3,500 more trainers, an additional 3,000 combat troops, and some helicopters. Asked whether the U.S. will fill any of those troop requirements, he said the Pentagon “will be looking at the requirements ourselves. And we will be talking with our allies.” A former CIA director, Gates took over the Pentagon last December after the embattled Donald Rumsfeld stepped down. Since then he has seen both victories and defeats. Overall, however, Iraq dominated his year – with four trips to the war front, an overhaul of his commanders, a shift in strategy and a battery of hearings and reviews. “It was a year that began with a surge of troops in Iraq and has ended with a sharp decline in violence,” Gates said. “The war is far from over. And we must protect and build on the gains earned with the blood of our military, our allies and our Iraqi partners.” Gates was cautiously optimistic about further troop reductions. But he said he regretted putting a specific number on that projection in September, when he expressed the hope that forces could drop to 100,000, by the end of 2008 if conditions in Iraq improved. “We obviously want to sustain the gains that we have already made,” he said, adding that the capacity of Iraqi forces to bear more of the security burden and the ability of the Iraqi government to run the country are key to how quickly U.S. forces can leave. There are 158,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. Plans call for reducing the 20 combat brigades to 15 by next summer. Five more could come out in the second half of the year, he said, if security gains continue. One combat brigade that left Iraq this month became the first to not be replaced. Asked about the possibility of political reforms in Iraq, Gates said the country’s leaders “are committed to getting it done. We’ll see if they get it done.” The progress in Afghanistan has been mixed, Gates said, noting that violence increased as the coalition forces launched more aggressive attacks against the insurgents. Al-Qaida also has stepped up its activities. He said he was told Friday morning that there has been a 40percent drop in cross-border attacks in eastern Afghanistan over the past six months. Gates also signaled a small, if temporary, victory Friday, saying that because Congress recently passed legislation providing $70billion for combat operations, there will be no layoff notices sent out during the holiday season. That possibility had loomed until Congress passed the spending bill. Still, he warned that paying for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in fits and starts undermines military planning and risks the gains made by American troops. And noting that the funding is less than half that requested by the president, Gates said the layoffs and cutbacks could resurface in a few months.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!