U-M students link Michigan to Brazil through music

May 1, 2013

Ethan Shirley and Alex Carney both hail from the University of Michigan and are co founders of the Pantanal Music Exchange.

Shirley founded the Pantanal Center for Education and Research is a non profit organization that focuses on science, technology and sustainable community development.

Last summer, Shirley and Carney were setting up some science and technology workshops at the Nazaré orphanage in rural Brazil when the director of the orphanage mentioned in passing that there was a room full of unused instruments.

It just so happened that Carney was the director and concertmaster of the Michigan Pops string orchestra. Naturally, he jumped at the opportunity to incorporate music into the lives of the 60 boys at Nazaré.

Since last summer, Shirley and Carney have been recruiting musicians from the University of Michigan and the surrounding area to travel with them to Brazil this summer.

Carney and Shirley taught violin, viola and cello to the boys at Nazaré, often teaching them American pop songs that the boys had heard on the radio.

They also taught them The Victors:

Shirley and Carney will continue to work with the boys at Nazaré, and are raising money for Pantanal's efforts in Brazil.

To listen to the full audio, click the link above.