music schools for fame and profit

This post might seem superfluous given the previous articles on the same subject.  Italian speakers do not necessarily read blogs in English but if Cabbagejuice can save at least one person from throwing money away on the Church’s machinations, then there will be a justification for this summing up.

1. There are plenty of good music schools in Jerusalem. If  a new one should be founded, there should be some special need or rationale. (The region of Jesi in Italy has been particularly targeted for funds. Maybe people don’t have real needs over there. But really, why don’t you all send your money to earthquake ravaged areas in Italy instead of to rich kids in the Holy Land?)

2. About 80 -100 regular students taking lessons twice a week, most of them Christians, or at least nominally so,  is not really a big deal. Misrepresentation, that is, making people believe that there is even one person more, is totally wrong.

When in 2003 there were less than 50 students at the Magnificat, the propaganda was already spreading “180 students”.  Now the publicized number is 200-210 but they can’t even fill up their own concert programs with that many names, let alone their posh hall for concerts and competitions of which only a handful of kids are recycled over and over again.

3. Public institutions in Europe and the US are not permitted to use tax money to fund projects of the Church.  The Magnifcat is only one of the many schools of the Custody of the Holy Land. Why so much attention, even a so-mentioned beneficiary of  the “annual Easter donation” publicised throughout the world, for a place with 80+ students?  Making up the difference of the fee paid to the teachers and the charged tuition is MUCH LESS for half of 200 regular students.  The question remains is it academic excellence or dumping prices that attract parents to send their kids there. Other institutions charge more and have a much higher enrollment.

4. Making peace is SURELY not a reason to fund the place, because NO PEACE is being made, SIMPLE AS THAT. The scant number of non-Christians is certainly NOT a reason for fanfare, honorariums, peace prizes, initiatives  like concerts, sales of books, art work, etc.,  Promotional activities must cost a LOT of money and it is usual for those who are most active and vocal to be getting a cut. That is why ABSOLUTE TRANSPARENCY must be demanded and made public. Otherwise, WHO KNOWS where the money is going? 1.

5. The Custodia could have moved the students out at any time (that is if one wants to believe the urgency of moving them from the sheltered walls of the Custody Compound into the so-called druggie ghetto where the new place is proposed to be).  The actual premises in fact were renovated in August 2007, perfectly adequate for a such a small number of students going there about once or twice a week. Where was the money coming from? Exactly where did it go? 2.

6. The greatest expense though, lies not in paying tuitions, supporting group trips abroad a few times a year or soliciting 8000 Euro for 2 timpani * but helping to improve property of the Custody, a fabulously wealthy organization and clever, too.  Not only are they trolling for funds to renovate the plot for the new school but will stand to benefit by the dramatically increased property value once completed.

martedì 19 gennaio 2010
Il 2010 sarà l’anno decisivo per la realizzazione della nuova Scuola Magnificat a Gerusalemme. Sarà, infatti, erogata la seconda trace di 60 mila euro del finanziamento stanziato dalla Regione Marche per il progetto “Magnificat”, che prevede un importo complessivo di 150.000 euro. Nel 2009 è stato erogato il primo intervento di 90 mila euro.
Il progetto è stato proposto dal Comune e dall’associazione Premio Vallesina, il soggetto attuatore, insieme con una rete partenariale composta dall’associazione di Terra Santa Roma, Custodia di Terra Santa di Gerusalemme, associazione Amici del Magnificat di Melide (Svizzera) e Cefa. Il Comune si è impegnato a cofinanziare il piano con una delibera consiliare adottata all’unanimità, stabilendo di partecipare finanziariamente per un importo complessivo di 70.000 euro in tre anni. L’obiettivo è la costruzione della nuova sede dell’istituto Magnificat, fondato da padre Armando Pierucci, frate minore francescano nato a Moie e a cui il Comune ha conferito la cittadinanza onoraria il 25 giugno 2008.
L’istituto Magnificat è una scuola di orientamento e di preparazione professionale in campo concertistico e didattico, ma soprattutto luogo di dialogo e di pacifica convivenza. Il Magnificat è infatti frequentato da circa 200 alunni musulmani, cristiani ed ebrei impegnati in nove indirizzi di studio (pianoforte, violino, flauto, organo, canto, composizione, violoncello, musica corale). La scuola Magnificat ha sede in locali angusti e stretti rispetto alle reali necessità e la Custodia di Terra Santa ha messo a disposizione una struttura al centro della città di Gerusalemme inutilizzata da alcuni anni, al fine di poterla recuperare e adibirla a sede della scuola. Il Premio Vallesina, di cui Maiolati Spontini, insieme a Monsano e Assindustria, è socio fondatore, è impegnato nella raccolta di fondi a favore della scuola di padre Armando e ha lanciato una campagna di solidarietà. Il costo complessivo dell’opera raggiunge il milione di euro e per questo l’associazione Premio Vallesina si sta prodigando alla raccolta dei fondi con numerose iniziative. La cifra di cui dispone attualmente il Premio Vallesina deriva da proprie iniziative e dal significativo contributo della Banca Popolare di Ancona
translation: Tuesday, January 19, 2010
2010 will be the decisive year for the construction of new Magnificat School in Jerusalem. In fact, the second installment of 60 thousand Euro for funding was allocated by the Marche Region for the “Magnificat,” giving a total of 150,000 Euro. In 2009 the first allocation was 90 000 Euro.
The project was proposed by the Municipality and the Vallesina Prize Association, the project supervisor, along with a partnership network composed by the Association of the Holy Land, Rome, Holy Land of Jerusalem, Association of Friends of the Magnificat Melide (Switzerland) and Cephas . The Municipality has committed itself  to co-finance the plan with a board resolution adopted unanimously, that will contribute financially a total of 70,000 Euro for three years. The goal is to build the new headquarters of the Magnificat, founded by Father Armando Pierucci, a Franciscan friar born in Moie for whom the Munipality has awarded honorary citizenship of 25 June 2008.

The Magnificat Institute is a school of orientation and vocational training in the concert and educational fields, but above all a place of dialogue and peaceful coexistence. The Magnificat is in fact attended by about 200 students Muslims, Christians and Jews engaged in nine fields of study (piano, violin, flute, organ, singing, composition, cello, choral music). The Magnificat School is located in narrow and confined spaces compared to its real needs and the Terra Santa has given for its disposal, a structure at the center of the city of Jerusalem unused for some years, in order to recover it as the seat of the school. The Vallesina Prize, which Maiolati Spontini, with Mgr and Assindustria and founding partner, is engaged in fundraising for the school of Father Armando, and has launched a campaign of solidarity. The total cost of the work comes to one million Euro and the the Vallesina Association is doing its best to raise funds with numerous initiatives. The current figure comes from their efforts of the Vallesina Association and the significant contribution of the Banca Popolare di Ancona

Now the propaganda machine has turned up the turbine into a crescendo, clearly based on the repeated slogans for years that the Italian public has now taken for granted. They believe their clergy. And using the gulliblity of church members is certainly a disgrace.

Being a magnet for fame and money is the downside of the Church in the Holy Land, Catholic and Protestant.  Let them raise money (filthy lucre!) if they want based on TRUTH. After all, this is what they preach. And say that the Custody of Terra Santa is the prime beneficiary.

If they REALLY wanted to spread Christianity, to be a witness to Christ and His teaching, they would not be such a despicable scandal as they are for the most part. In fact, their example, as a rule, drives more people away than welcomes them into the Church. For sure Jesus and St. Francis would not recognize them in their golden crowns, even accompanied by their sly, seductive moralistic speeches. 3.

1. Da Jesi una nuova scuola di musica in Terra Santa

(From Jesi a new music school in the Holy Land)

“E’ ritornata da Gerusalemme la squadra di tecnici accompagnata dal segretario dell’associazione “Premio Vallesina” che si è incontrata con il Custode di Terra Santa padre Pizzaballa e con padre Armando Pierucci direttore della scuola di musica Magnificat. da Premio Vallesina onlusL’incontro è stato sollecitato e voluto dal Custode per un esame dell’area ove dovrà sorgere la nuova scuola di musica e per permettere ai tecnici jesini di approfondire con i tecnici della Custodia le problematiche per questa importante realizzazione…Va detto che i tecnici che si sono affiancati al Premio Vallesina in questa opera gigantesca sono tutti professionisti volontari e per questo padre Pizzaballa ha espresso a tutti grande riconoscenza. Facevano parte della squadra, oltre al segretario dell’associazione Premio Vallesina, l’architetto progettista Lorenzo Rossi, l’ingegnere Paolo Morosetti esperto in calcoli strutturali e pianificazione operativa dei cantieri, il tecnico di impiantistica Roberto Mancini, l’avvocato Nebel Veronique di Ginevra presidente dell’associazione Amici del Magnificat che affianca il premio Vallesina in questa operazione di grande valenza sociale ed il direttore artistico del “Premio” Giuliano De Minicis.”

1. A MOST conspicuous absence indeed is an account of ingoing and outgoing funds. The Associazione Amici del Magnificat (AAM) is supposedly a legal entity, but with all the hype and legalese, praise for the school, blah, blah, WHERE is the MOST IMPORTANT–a DETAILED, public account of the flow of cash? One can donate directly to the bank account of the Magnificat in Israel, or a postal account with Pierucci’s name on it in Italy.  One can get thanks and even blessings but not financial transparancy.  The burning question remains, if not, WHY NOT???

In a roundabout manner this neglect can be construed as an institution of the  Church having no internal need to publish accounts outside.  It sure looks like they want the best of both worlds– protected as a Church (enjoy a moral umbrella for whatever they do or say) and at the same time pass as a business without the obligations of the latter which must be accountable to the free market and law.

2.  Further to the discussion of raising money, has anyone outside the propaganda circle yet sat down and done the math? It is not impossible to figure out just exactly what the expenses are for a small music school that slready has newly renovated premises and a fine hall with a new grand piano at its disposal.

According to their website, the tuition is 415 Euro per year. * In the past it was less, $250-$300 that permitted students who received $1000 scholarships from the Franciscan Foundation for Hope in Washington, DC to pocket the excess, up to $750.

If teachers receive about $20 per hour, for one month they get about $80. For one student on the average a teacher may get $1000 per year.  The tuition covers about half of that.  The amount to be paid out to teachers for 200 students  is $200,000 per year. For half of that, as the number of regular students never really went past the century mark is $100,000.  Raising funds on false premises, that is,  saying there are 200 students when there are only 100, means an extra $100,000.

If the money is to be used for rent and upkeep, well, the property belongs to the Custody of the Holy Land.  The Executive President, himself is a member of the club. Other expenses for secretarial and auxiliary staff could not be that much.

HOWEVER, what DOES cost money are promotion and trips.  As honest spread sheets are not available, do your own calculations.

Now as for instruments, this is a funny story indeed. Some string instruments have been donated, even from as far away as China. On their website donations are asked for pianos. But several years ago they were SELLING pianos, or at least middlemen (which usually is considered a conflict of interest, like doctors being forbidden to sell medicine).

A most absurd, in fact disgraceful story, is about a student who was told by his Russian teacher there that he MUST have a piano within a couple months. (Why couldn’t he practice there on off hours?)  But the remedy came soon as “Oh we just found a piano for you”. This was a rather fragile used Broadwood upright from the turn of the century that goes for a few hundred dollars in England.  He paid 4000 shekels or $1000 dollars. As soon as he got it home, it was realized that this was a lemon.

Now the fun part is not over. In general the locals are trained to be docile and accepting of whatever the clergy wants them to do, so NOT returning the bad goods, he bought yet again being similarly advised another piece of trash, a modern  Russian piano made with mainly plywood (but with fancy candleholders!).

So now this family, who incidentally, has been struggling financially for years, has two useless pianos in their house thanks to the Magnificat.

Like PT Barnum would say, “A sucker is born every minute“.

Update to the piano stories, May 2012: “Thanks to a contribution from friends of the Premio Vallesina (an organization from the Marche region of Italy), the Magnificat now has a real concert grand at its disposal, a Steinway D 274.”

Hey, the other two grand pianos very much in evidence in their videos and piano competitions, were not REAL, one a gift from Paltel? If pianos come so easily to them especially the new instrument worth about 50,000 Euro, then one can use with impunity such a term as “disposal”!

3. Unfortunately these days, worldly glory seems to be in inverse proportion to actual achievement. Those who actually produce,  shy away from attention. They just do their jobs quietly without fanfare. You don’t have to make peace in order to be declared a Knight of the Italian Republic, only convince enough people that you are doing something extraordinary in the Holy Land.

How it is permitted for clergy to get away with incessant self-promotion over nothing, especially when as followers of St. Francis, they are supposed to shun the world?  But the Catholic Church in the Holy Land laps it up–the more exposure, the more money for them.

This above article to viverejesi was sent in by the scuola di musica Magnificat, un grande onore all’Istituto di musica Magnificat

“Con decreto firmato dal Presidente della Repubblica Italiana, Giorgio Napolitano,  e controfirmato dal Ministro per gli Affari Esteri, il 22 aprile 2008, festa del Beato Francesco Venimbeni da Fabriano, l’Istituto Magnificat è stato onorato con la nomina a Cavaliere della Repubblica Italiana data a fra Armando Pierucci da scuola di musica Magnificat.

Il Console Generale Italiano a Gerusalemme, Dr. Luciano PEZZOTTI, ha consegnato all’interessato la Stella della Solidarietà e le altre insegne dell’Ordine e, di fronte alle numerose Personalità riunite al Centre for Jerusalem Studies dell’Università Al Quds, ha messo in evidenza l’azione altamente educativa del Magnificat, rivolta a centinaia di giovani, senza discriminazioni etniche, linguistiche o religiose.”

“With a decree signed by the President of the Italian Republic, George Napolitano, and countersigned by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, on April 22,  2008,  the feast of the Blessed Francisco Venimbeni of Fabriano, the Magnificat Institute has been honored with the nomination to the Knight of the Italian Republic given to Armando Pierucci of the school of the Magnificat.  

The Italian Consul General in Jerusalem, Dr. Luciano PEZZOTTI, has delivered to those interested,  the Star of the Solidarity and the other standards of the Order to the forehead of  the numerous Personalities gathered in the Centre for Jerusalem Studies of the University Al Quds, have put in evidence the highly educational action of the Magnificat, turning to hundred of young people, without ethnic religious or linguistic discrimination.”

Gosh, I didn’t know that “linguistic discrimination” actually exists.  How about a prize for selling useless pianos to students who can barely afford them?



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