Music and Its Power To Transform Lives

“Music is happiness, discipline, transformation and a universal language that brings people together.” - Heiber Mandez

The music can be heard echoing through the community. The notes being played are by the Palomos’ Marching band, a group of students from the village of Fredonia in the southwestern territory of Antioquia, Colombia. It’s a beautiful location surrounded by mountains covered by wild nature and coffee plantations planted in harmony with the environment. The Oro Molido Foundation sponsors the marching band by providing musical instruments, a budget to participate in nationwide events and a music director who plays an important role in teaching music, choreography and the administration of the program. 

The Oro Molido Foundation* uses the transformational power of music to establish change in the communities in which we live and work. We primarily focus on children and youth from the rural areas surrounding our coffee plantations, but we support other, more remote locations, as well. In all of our communities, our aim is to support young people to use their free time in a productive and joyful way and by doing so change their own realities and the reality of the communities they live in.

*Oro Molido is the name for our collection of Farms. The Oro Molido Foundation is a non-profit organization created in 2015 in Medellin, Colombia which provides opportunities for children and young people in coffee-growing communities.

Transformation in Palomos has occurred on many levels because of music. In the past, people in the village had many differences and old conflicts went unresolved. The town suffered from drug related problems and other social problems that were out of hand of the local authorities. However, the school and its music program has shown a different reality and a path away from conflict. Free time is now used for music lessons and marching drills. And once the marching band is rehearsing as a group, the whole village comes together, forgetting their differences, and enjoying the band’s performance. 


"This program develops musical and social skills in the children, broadens their horizons regarding different human expressions, and gives them opportunities to share with people from other parts of Antioquia, Colombia and the world. Through music you learn that in life you are defined by your decisions and not by the conditions that surround you. Many of my student musicians didn’t have the opportunity to see beyond the borders of their own village, but because of our program the students and their families have the chance to experience other regions of the country and interact with people with different perspectives which has opened their worldview.” - Heiber Mandez


Armando Garcia, one of the musicians who has participated in the program for several years says, “Music has the ability to calm you down, even if you are upset, bored or angry. Once you play your musical instrument, if you play it with passion, you will forget everything and the music just flows.” 

The Foundation makes a concerted effort to reach very isolated communities where no other organizations or even the government have gone. The difficulties of the terrain and a rather poor road system make it a difficult task for our two music teachers to reach these small groups of students twice each week. But each time they arrive, the faces of these future musicians light up and the enthusiasm with which they participate is a motivation to continue.  This is a true indicator that the program itself makes a difference in the lives of many. 

Steven Jiménez, Project Manager Oro Molido Foundation, says, ”This is one of the most important programs in the foundation, because it currently impacts more than 420 students in the covered territories.” The program manages three pedagogical processes: Music initiation, instrumental training, and marching. It has a high impact in the communities, because they represent their municipalities in regional and national events.


Meet some of the students. 

Ana Quinchía (Student Palomo’s Peace Marching Bands): “I am a student of the Palomos Martial Band, I play the trumpet and thanks to the Oro Molido Foundation I was able to be admitted to the Iberacademy In Crescendo program and travel to Switzerland in 2021 to participate in the National Meeting of Swiss Youth, playing with the Symphony Orchestra.”

Angelly Mesa Castañeda (Student Palomo’s Peace Marching Bands): “Hi, I’m Angelly Mesa Castañeda, I´m twelve years old, I am in eighth grade, and I have been in the Peace Martial Band since the 2021. I play the Lyre, and I really like to be in the band because it helps me to be more disciplined at the school, and I can travel to different places with the band.”

Laura Victoria Luna: My name is Laura Luna. “I am a horn player, graduated from EAFIT university, and I have been a professor at the Montebello music school since 2021. I teach French Horn, Piano, Brass Ensemble, Music Theory and Musical Initiation Classes. This program seems very important to me because it develops musical and social skills in the children of the municipality, broadens their horizons regarding different human expressions, and gives them opportunities to share with people from other parts of Antioquia, Colombia and the world. It also creates in them important values such as discipline and creativity.”


The Foundation continues to look for ways to add the most value to the community and lives of students.  It’s currently working with the local Rotary Club to provide smaller sized instruments to young children to suit their specific needs and ensure they start their journey into music off as best they can! 


The Oro Molido Foundation is a non-profit organization created in 2015 in Medellin, Colombia.  Its goal is to improve development opportunities for children and young people that live in rural coffee-growing communities in the areas of operation of the coffee producer and exporter Oro Molida S.A.

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