San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Concert showcases young musicians of La Carpio

At first glance, “A Light for the Children” is a family-friendly concert packed with great (and varied) music. In theory, you could ignore the title altogether, pay your ₡5,000 at the door, listen to three extraordinary ensembles, and that would be that. But this concert is also a fundraiser, and the young beneficiaries live in La Carpio, one of the most troubled neighborhoods in the city.

If you have never heard of La Carpio, the barrio is a ramshackle slum just northwest of San José, situated next to a garbage dump. In its worst parts, residents live in corrugated steel huts, where basic utilities are scarce. Most residents are of Nicaraguan descent, and the neighborhood has struggled with poverty for decades.

“A Light for the Children” benefits two community initiatives, El Hogar de Niños Fe Viva (The Living Faith Children’s Home) and La Pequeña Gran Ciudad (Little Big City Music School) of La Carpio. The music school is part of an initiative called The Integrated System of Art Education for Social Inclusion (SIFAIS). Organizers plan to present the successes of SIFAIS at the Planet People Peace (P3) Conference in San José in early November.

“In our hands, it is not the elimination of poverty, but to propitiate better integration and opportunities, to help [students] overcome barriers or at least help them endure with more dignity,” said Maris Estela Fernández, spokewoman for SIFAIS, in a statement.

Grand gestures aside, “A Light for the Children” gives guests a chance to see the young musicians of La Carpio in action. Meanwhile, you can also enjoy the professional musicians of the Guayabo de Mora String Quartet and the contemporary stylings of national favorite José Cañas. Set in the comfortable auditorium of the Eugene O’Neill Theater, this concert combines exquisite music with a vital cause.

“A Light for the Children” performs Oct. 8 at the Eugene O’Neill Theater, San Pedro. 7 p.m. Admission 5,000 ($10). For reservations, call 2256-4878.

Contact Robert Isenberg at

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