“There are things that don’t burn.”
One year ago today, Reggio Calabria’s Musical Instrument Museum was torched. Musical instruments and scores went up in flames. However, as was affirmed by a young boy on the evening of the solidarity march held shortly after the heinous event, “You can’t touch music, therefore, it wasn’t burned.”
One year later, the museum and its volunteers are in the midst of a cleanup process with the hopes of starting anew. To mark the date and to keep the goals of this small museum alive, the organization held a public assembly entitled, “Ci sono cose che non bruciano” (There are things that don’t burn). Just at the time the gathering was to start, the heavens opened up with resounding thunder, lightening and rain, perhaps commenting and doing its bit in putting out any residual flames.
Investigations are still being carried out, but the association doesn’t believe that the incident was the work of a random arsonist. As a matter of fact, just a few days ago, there was another minor act of vandalism to the property. From the association’s website: “Now as then, we know what they wanted to attack: a physical space, a cornerstone of the other city that is built on involvement, sharing and culture, and inaccessible to the dynamics of the Mafia.”
For background on the story, here’s my article from November 2013 in the e-zine Music and Vision Daily: Play, Reggio, Play!
Further information (in Italian) can be found on the museum’s website: Museo dello Strumento Musicale. Memberships are available in four categories, from 20 Euros for students up to 200 Euros for the benefactor level. Supporting the museum signifies refusing to accept the criminal element that has too often tried to soffocate the city, making an investment in culture, setting an example for legality, and becoming an integral part of a project that is not just the Musical Instrument Museum, but which is part of the city and its growth.
UPDATE: Reggio’s Musical Instrument Museum reopened on 25 April 2016, the Anniversario della liberazione d’Italia or Italy’s Liberation Day. Call to schedule a visit:
Museo dello Strumento Musicale
Viale Genoese Zerbi (Pineta)
Reggio Calabria, RC 89128
Read more about Reggio Calabria in Calabria: The Other Italy, my non-fiction book about daily life, history, culture, art, food and society in the fascinating region in the toe of the Italian boot.
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