Gen Verde back in Dortmund!

Start Now Workshop Project together with 170 students in Dortmund, Germany.

Dortmund is a very special city for Gen Verde. In fact, after four years, the group returned there in February to carry out the Start Now Workshop Project in the ‘Schule am Hafen’ (the School of the Port). 170 students participated in the artistic workshops and then took the stage at the Dietrich-Keuning-Haus (DKH) – the largest socio-cultural centre in North Rhine-Westphalia – together with Gen Verde.

The initiative was supported by Dr. Peter Klasvogt (Director of Kommende Dortmund), through the Dortmund beneVolens project, a social institute of the Archdiocese of Paderborn. The sponsor of the event was the Ministry of Culture and Science, which also attended the event in the DKH, as did Lord Mayor Thomas Westphal.

It is hard to explain with words the transformation witnessed during these days. From being in a gymnasium in front of a lot of very energetic youngsters who had difficulty listening, with their eyes looking at the floor and their hoods up – trying to avoid showing too much interest, but not being able to hide the curiosity in their eyes –, to then, 4 days later, be in the same place, but in the midst of teenagers who seemed transformed, who were smiling, who no longer had their hoods up and who did not want Gen Verde to leave!

Sally McAllister (manager, Ireland) said: “The concert ended with an explosion of joy. Everyone was on their feet dancing and singing… after very challenging days we were deeply moved to see the teenagers performing and singing their hearts out with pride, instead of seeing them with that empty, fearful look we had seen on previous days”.

In fact, the most unexpected surprises came on the last day, during the moment dedicated to feedback, where Gen Verde makes an evaluation of the days spent with the participants. It was expected that only a few young people would come because there was a public transport strike… but the majority came! They walked from home. One of the girls arrived after having walked 10 km, because she didn’t want to miss the last day.

Drama Workshop

It’s almost impossible to forget the look on their faces: so much pride and gratitude! Not to mention the moment in which a group of schoolgirls appeared with a bouquet of flowers (bought by themselves) to give to the band! And perhaps the most beautiful thing were their words when Gen Verde asked what this experience was like for them. “The first thing to say is a big thank you to Gen Verde who did something like this for our school. We received this gift of being able to have this experience. And as a group we achieved something that no one thought we could achieve. I think, as a school, we were able to make a step forward! We didn’t think we could achieve something like this”, said one of the participants.

And not only the students, but also the teachers left very positive feedback. One of them wrote: “This is the greatest project I have ever had the pleasure of assisting” . And indeed, the support of these committed teachers is not always a given, and it makes the experience even more beautiful.

Gen Verde is back home, in the hills of Loppiano, Tuscany… but clearly a piece of their hearts remains in Dortmund. As always. But there is a certainty that they will be back soon, to experience even more emotions and discover new faces!

Now the band’s tour continues in Umbria, where Gen Verde will meet the inmates of Perugia prison. And then they’re headed to Assisi, where they will perform “Gen Verde in Concert”, on 24 February at 9pm at the “Lyrick Theatre”, in the setting of the event “Fratelli Tutti – Musica per la pace” (All brothers and sisters – Music for peace).