It all began with a set of green drums at the International Centre of Loppiano in December 1966. It was an unexpected gift in the hands of a group of girls. That instrument has become the symbol of a permanent revolution to contribute to the building of a more united and fraternal world. This saw the birth of Gen Verde: determination, talents, words, gestures and professionalism in synergy to say with music that humanity, still and always, has a chance to choose peace and not war, cohesion instead of walls, and dialogue instead of silence. In almost 50 years of activity, the band has performed in public squares, theatres and stadiums throughout the world with over 1,500 shows and events, hundreds of tours, and 69 albums in 9 languages. As of today 147 singers, musicians, actresses, dancers and technicians have been part of Gen Verde, whose professional contributions have given rise to diverse artistic productions with genres ranging from live concerts to musicals, besides didactic and training activities for the youth through workshops and specific courses.
It took so much work to prepare a project with intense days experienced, but what remains in the end? We posed this question to the protagonists of some of the phases of the initiative in many countries worldwide. What they told us had many points in common. The first: the actual concert we are staging, “Start Now,” gives an impulse to relate with the others in a different lifestyle, based on trust, openness, and attention to the common good. This style continues also after, in daily life. The second: the courage to be the first to start in changing the world around us, since “Togetherness is our strength. We can think big if we work together.” Someone called it “spirit of brotherhood.” The third note could be called sharing: the drive, the desire to communicate to others their concrete experience, to contaminate and involve all in the endeavour of improving the world, wherever we are.
“We managed to relate better with people, and at times also influence others to act like us,” a boy said. And a teacher, talking about some of his students who had participated in the project: “They were able to show that they have a deep humaneness which I may have underestimated in these years. I no longer consider them as kids, at times immature, but as people who are able to be protagonists.”
The desire to divulge this constructive way of facing reality, gave rise to various initiatives. In Palermo, Southern Italy, for example, they are already working on a second edition of Start Now 2018. In La Spezia, in the north, the youths who had participated in the project invented a “car wash” afternoon, for the benefit of Nigeria and a “typical 1960s masquerade ball” to gather funds for a dispensary in Man, Ivory Coast. To let fraternity be “heard” before a party, they had a linkup via Skype with their friends in the African country.
In Huétor Tájar (Spain), the Start Now spirit enlivened the traditional “solidarity run.” “We understood – a girl wrote – that life is nicer if accompanied by a smile and joy.” Still in Spain, in Azpeitia, the dean of a university requested that the project be presented in his university.
These are small steps with great perspectives, and the feeling of belonging to a choir where the voice of each one is necessary, and many other effects, here and there around the world, triggered by the sharing of the Start Now project. It is not a firework which soon dies out leaving only memories and nostalgia, but a spark that lights up, contaminates and spreads.