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BISB Students Join Anthem for the Amazon Music Video Project

When it comes to raising awareness of global issues, Simone Scazzocchio believes the voices of children often hold the most power.

“It’s a matter of their innocence- they have that awareness and that power to really move people,” he said. “There is an emotional connection that only they can create.”

On October 8, Scazzocchio was at the British International School of Boston to find that emotional connection, filming and recording BISB students for the Anthem for the Amazon project, a music video being premiered at the National Geographic Environmental Film Festival in March 2015.

BISB Headmaster Paul Wiseman said the project was an exceptional opportunity for the students to develop their own awareness and understanding of the plight of the Amazon, as well as learn something of the art of producing a music video.

“The rehearsal and recording event was both moving and inspirational,” Wiseman said. “Watching the children learning and singing their parts in such a spirited and exuberant way reminded me of the important notion that we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”

The Anthem for the Amazon project is a collaboration between the Boston-based musical group Rhythm of the Universe, of which Scazzocchio is a member, and the Amazon Aid Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to raise awareness of the challenges facing the Amazon rain forest.

The project will produce a full-length music video to educate the global public about the importance of the Amazon rain forest, which houses more than a quarter of all species on Earth and produces 20 percent of the world’s oxygen, and how the world’s people can protect its vital resources.

Musicians and students from around the world, including those at the British International School of Boston, will unite to record the music video. In addition to its inclusion in the National Geographic film festival, the video will be shared across social media and unveiled to global leaders at COP 20, the 2014 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru this December.

It’s a project that is extremely close to Scazzocchio’s heart. He’s been working on the music video since the summer with his fellow members of ROTU, who joined the project after a meeting with the director of the Amazon Aid Foundation last spring. Since then, they’ve been working to write music and lyrics and select singers for the project.

But while the project has been in the works for some time, it was only a few months ago, Scazzocchio said, that the team realized they wanted children to feature in the music video.

Once that decision was made, said Scazzocchio, he knew immediately he wanted the British International School of Boston to be involved. With more than 75 heritages represented among the BISB student body, Scazzocchio, who works at the international school’s after school care program, said BISB was the perfect fit for the Anthem project.

“We knew we wanted to showcase diversity among the kids and try to unite all youth for this message,” he said. “We felt it was a stronger way of getting out the message and a wonderful way to make the kids aware of what’s happening.”

On October 8, Scazzocchio and other members of Rhythm of the Universe got started recording the students at BISB, working with students from ages 8 to 18 to record portions of the song’s chorus. A group of young Brazilian musicians from the organization Arte Transforma, visiting BISB as part of a global tour, were also involved in the filming. Later this month, the team will be going to South America to film and record students there.

Scazzocchio said he hopes this work will not only help spread the message of the Anthem for the Amazon around the world, but will also help to raise awareness of the issues facing the Amazon among the young people involved.

“We know we are leaving this planet in the hands of the people who are now 9, 10, 11,” he said. “We want them to carry this message. If they are involved in this now, at a young age, they are more likely to care about these issues when they grow older.”

It was clear last week that this message was hitting home with BISB students.

For middle school student Kasra von Andrian-Werburg, the chance to be a part of a project aimed to protect the Amazon Rain Forest was an almost unbelievable opportunity.

“I can’t describe the feeling,” he said last week. “It’s so amazing that this will be presented to the United Nations; that it will be shown to millions of people. It’s just amazing, it’s crazy.”

The opportunity wasn’t lost on the school’s younger students either. A group of fifth grade students- Jenna Bulanov, Carlos Panayiotopoulos and Ethan Walsh- were eager to talk about their experience working on the Anthem for the Amazon project last week.

“Hearing about the damage being done to the rain forest, I think that made the children more enthusiastic to work on this,” Bulanov said. “It was also mentioned this was going to be shown to important people, so it’s really good to know that we are part of making a difference.”

Rhythm of the Universe and Amazon Aid Foundation will continue to work on the project over the next few months, leading up to the premiere at the United Nations. And Scazzocchio has big dreams for the impact the video will have in the future.

“The ideal outcome would be to have a huge traffic of people going to the Amazon Aid Foundation website, learning how to donate, to take some action,” he said. “The bigger this gets, the more benefit we can have for the situation. I hope this becomes a new model to spread awareness on environmental issues.”

To learn more about the Anthem for the Amazon project and discover how to get involved, visit www.amazonanthem.org. Learn more about the British International School of Boston at www.bisboston.org.