LOBOC, Bohol – Imagine a life filled with music.

For some musically inclined boys and girls from Loboc, Bohol, they are living their musical dreams. Nurtured by the Loboc Development Foundation as their poverty alleviation project, teenagers from poor families are given the opportunity to learn music for free.

If you remember the world-renowned Loboc Children’s Choir, then you probably already know what I am talking about.

Last week I had the opportunity of listening to the highly talented group of the Loboc Youth Ambassadors Band. These kids totally blew me away, as they marched up on stage, with their brass instruments in tow and playing with such passion and harmony. They performed upbeat jazz numbers, dancing little jigs up on stage and performing in sync with each other.

Loboc is a musical town and has a strong bent towards music. Building on this, the Loboc Development Foundation has its own Loboc School of Music, where it nurtures young deserving musicians.

It’s inspiring to see the kind of support the band has received through the years, with business communities, civil society and local government coming together and supporting their musical dreams. The Loboc Youth Ambassadors Band members are trained in notes reading and instrumentation for free. They are even given their own musical instruments to use and care for. Band members are given free college scholarships in local universities, provided they also continue the cycle of giving and support. The scholars regularly participate in the in-school bands.

Music plays such a powerful role in the learning and development of these teens. Practicing any art form builds character and develops a deep sense of passion and dedication. The practice of building your craft develops numerous life skills and the love they put into their craft can easily be applied into their future workplace.

The program has since seen graduates of the program. Some have become professionals, allowing them to help themselves and their families.

I hope we take good examples from the Loboc Youth Ambassadors Band and nurture the artists in our families. Art builds skills beyond creativity. We can build a nation of highly skilled dreamers and artists.

Imagine what our country would be like if we let more music into our arts classes in schools, if we danced more, if we painted, and did performing arts more. What a creative and vibrant community we would be able to build.

Do you have an artist in your family? Celebrate your artist and nurture his/her talent.