In autumn 2015, violinist and orchestra leader Ron Davis Alvarez arrived in Sweden from Caracas, Venezuela as an exchange student. It was a shocking sight for him when arriving at Stockholm Central station he witnessed the arrival of a large group of underage unaccompanied refugees.
Ron himself grew up in poor circumstances and until that moment he had had a different image of Sweden than the one he came across with here.
After inquiring about the situation of these unaccompanied minors, he decided to find ways to help these young people, once he would have the opportunity to stay and work in Sweden. Then it happened. Ron, a musical talent raised in the Venezuelan El Sistema movement, was soon hired as artistic director of El Sistema in Sweden and thus stayed.
In April 2016, he fulfilled his promise to himself and started Dream Orchestra. An orchestra for everyone, but especially for those who needed it the most: the unaccompanied minors escaping from countries in conflict. In a refugee camp in Frillesås, a small village to the south of Gothenburg, he found his first students and here the dream started.
The news that there was an orchestra in Gothenburg that offered these young people a safe place to integrate into society and to start dreaming of a better future through music, spread like wildfire.
Today, Dream Orchestra has 184 members, 10 teachers and employed administrative staff. The activity is organized in association with a company and works in close collaboration with the civil society, Bethlehem Church, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the El Sistema Sweden Foundation and the University’s school for theater and Music.
My thinking about social life and how we deal with others changed a lot during my time in Dream Orchestra. The Orchestra was the water that let my little dream-plants grow and develop into beautiful things like founding an own Dream Orchestra-inspired orchestra back home.