Music from Boats | God's World News
Music from Boats
Citizen Ship
Posted: May 01, 2024
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    A violin made from the wood of migrants’ boats (AP/Antonio Calanni)
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    Members of the “Sea Orchestra” play with violins made from the wood of immigrants’ boats. (AP/Antonio Calanni)
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    Members of the “Sea Orchestra” play with cellos made from the wood of immigrants’ boats in Milan, Italy, on February 10, 2024. (AP/Antonio Calanni)
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    Inmate Andrea Volonghi checks wood from a boat stored in the Opera Prison near Milan, Italy. (AP/Antonio Calanni)
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    Personal belongings were left in the boats. (AP/Antonio Calanni)
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    Prison inmate Nikolae works on the top plate of a violin in the prison’s lab. (AP/Antonio Calanni)
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    An inmate works on a violin. (AP/Antonio Calanni)
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When is a boat not a boat? When it becomes a violin.

Musicians tickle music out of violins, violas, and cellos in Milan, Italy. Each instrument is made from wood from boats.

A luthier (LOO-dee-ehr) is a person who makes stringed instruments. Luthiers bend, chisel, and gouge the wood.

Voila! They craft violas.

And violins. And cellos.

One more thing: These luthiers are inmates at Italy’s largest prison.

The prison-violin project has a name: Metamorphosis. It’s all about transforming what otherwise might be thrown away into something valuable. Salvaged wood becomes fine instruments. Prisoners become craftsmen.

Two inmates were allowed to come to the concert. They watched and heard 14 prison-made instruments create beautiful music by composers Johann Sebastian Bach and Antonio Vivaldi. They sat in the royal box alongside Milan’s mayor.

“I feel like Cinderella,” says one inmate, Claudio Lamponi. “This morning I woke up in an ugly, dark place. Now I am here.”

Another prisoner, Nikolae, joined the prison’s instrument workshop in 2020. He has become the prison’s master craftsman. He started by making crude instruments from plywood. Now he crafts harmonious violins worthy of the stage.

“That’s how I began to speak with the wood,” Nikolae says in the prison workshop. The smell of wood chips fills the air. A jigsaw hums in the background. “I started with very poor materials, and they saw I had good dexterity.”

Nikolae works on the instruments four to five hours per day. He says that time feels peaceful, and he can reflect on “the mistakes I made.” His new skills give him hope for a career after prison. “I hope one day, I can be recuperated, like this violin,’’ he says.

And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”— Revelation 21:5

Why? One day, God will make all things new. But He’s already renewing the broken world bit by bit.