The Palau de la Música Catalana was full yesterday for the charity concert by the Escolania de Montserrat boys’ choir to raise funds for the NGO Casal dels Infants. The concert, organised by the Agbar Foundation to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Aigües de Barcelona, managed to raise over 20,000 euros from donations by those attending and the direct contribution by the Foundation, all of which will go to the Casal dels Infants.
Dolors Montserrat, the Spanish Minister for Health, Social Services and Equality; Santi Vila, Minister for Culture of the Government of Catalonia; Enric Millo, government delegate in Catalonia; José Montilla, former president of the Government of Catalonia; P. Josep Maria Soler, Abbot of Montserrat; and Roser Rosell, President of the Casal dels Infants, among other figures, attended the recital.
The concert, conducted by Llorenç Castelló and Gerard Claret, was accompanied by the National Classical Orchestra of Andorra, the Capilla de Música de Montserrat choir, the organist Vicenç Prunés and the soloists Elisenda Arquimbau (mezzo-soprano), Júlia Farrés-Llongueras (soprano), Germán de la Riva (bass) and Carles Prat (tenor). It was divided into two parts, the first offering pieces by masters from the Escolania and the second a performance of Mozart’s Requiem. The last time the Montserrat choir performed at the Palau de la Música was in February last year, also at a charity concert organised by the Agbar Foundation for the Casal dels Infants.
The concert is the result of the agreement signed in 2014 by the Agbar Foundation and the Abbey of Montserrat to promote the work of the Escolania de Montserrat. In its commitment to people, and specifically to children, the Agbar Foundation supports the Casal dels Infants through its Vincles project, which aims to strengthen the training and relational skills of single mothers of children under three years of age and help in their care and upbringing, to prevent situations of risk of exclusion. Vincles works in the districts of El Raval (Barcelona), Fondo and Santa Rosa-Raval (Santa Coloma), Llefià (Badalona) and the Girona town of Salt, where it accompanies 330 children and mothers with problems.
About the Casal dels Infants
The Casal is a charity organisation which for over 30 years has been working in local districts with children and young people with difficulties so that they and their families can enjoy full opportunities in life. Thanks to the involvement and efforts of many people, the volunteers working in the Casal accompany over 6,000 children, young people and families a year, through education, school reinforcement, support areas and training.
About the Agbar Foundation
The Agbar Foundation is a non-profit organisation that works to use Agbar’s knowledge to improve people’s quality of life and maintain its social commitment to people and the environment. To do this, it promotes sustainable development actions in its three vectors of protecting the environment, social equality and economic growth, through research, innovation, the spread of knowledge and developing social projects.
Agbar Foundation’s commitment to the community is developed in three strategic areas of activity: commitment to people, to culture and knowledge, and to innovation and the environment.
About the Escolania de Montserrat
The Escolania de Montserrat is one of the oldest music schools in Europe. Back in the 13th century, a small group of youths appeared at the Benedictine Monastery and Marian Shrine of Montserrat and served this unique site through chant and various musical instruments. Over the centuries, the Montserrat music school has produced some remarkable composers and musicians, including Joan Cererols, Anselm Viola, Narcís Cosanoves, Antoni Soler, Fernando Sor and Anselm Ferrer.
Currently, there are over 50 boys at the Escolania, aged 9 to 14. Their studies at Montserrat include the last years of primary school and the first years of secondary school, as well as their corresponding music studies. Today, as in previous centuries, the purpose of the Escolania is daily participation in the prayers of the shrine. A further function of the Escolania is the dissemination of sacred music, such as choral music, by both its own (from the Montserrat school) and international composers.