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Notes from the Heart at the Museum of Illusions

On November the 13th at 16:00h, the Museum of Illusions will use its permanent address at Nušićeva 11 in Belgrade to host the renown Serbian composer, Aleksandar Simić and his chamber ensemble The Seraphim, in an effort to create a concert as a part of an awareness campaign for children with Dawn Syndrome.

The audience will consist of young people, gathered around the community centers in which they socialize on daily basis, finding a refuge and a place that offers professional care, advice and often even employment, thanks to the inclusive programs, launched by a number of local Serbian and also some multinational companies.

The basic idea behind the Notes from the Heart programs, started by Simić back in 2009, and aimed at addressing different types of marginalized groups – from elderly or economically disadvantaged to refugees and people with handicap, is to use this carefully crafted programs, and by sharing joy and empathy through music and art, deliver the message that their audiences are not alone in facing the challenges they struggle with on daily basis. The simple and efficient recipe for making these program reach beyond pure entertainment lies in the paradoxical and unjust fact that show business often gets much bigger media attention than the challenges people are facing on a daily level, and that this attention can be focused into pressuring the institutions to more speedily address and solve their problems, which are often otherwise shelved by the bureaucracy. Notes from the Heart have assisted in this way on occasions such as World Child Cancer Day or World Autism Day and many. many others, achieving tangible improvements in issues related to the specific target groups.

Besides musicians, their concerts were often enhanced by special appearances of actors, ballet dancers, magicians or Clown Doctors – an organization Simić has been collaborating with from their very inception in Belgrade – an initiative launched in Serbia by Bridge of Life and Edward Wayne and inspired by the life and work of Patch Adams. These “Clown Doctors” as they call themselves are absolute magicians in the art of bringing back grins to the faces of children who forgot how to smile, due to prolonged stays at hospitals and grave illnesses they have succumbed to. Besides children, they also work with members of the medical staff and event with parents, for which this kind of encouragement makes an enormous difference.

A special feature of these “November Notes” will be the complimentary tour of the Museum of Illusions, as one of Belgrade’s favorite attractions for the young. The Museum has also invited the biscuit factory Bambi from Požarevac to join the event by providing gift-bags as special sweet treats for the audience, but we trust their favorite gifts will prove to be the photos and selfies in which they will find themselves “hanging upside down from the ceiling, turning up as Midgets and Giants in the enchanted perspective room or being multiplied by hundreds in the Great Hall of Mirrors”

To quote Mr. Simic himself – “Serbia is a home to tens of thousands of people dealing with various forms of disabilities and with ways that these different handicaps reflect to their health, their socio-economic status and the quality of their daily life. This is why with every initiative that we use to highlight their problems or remind people of their hopes and dreams, it is not only them that we are helping, but also all of us, as we all in our special and personal ways deal with the cruelty of the times we live in, and the only way to address this serious mutual challenges is to give chance to empathy, love and solidarity.”

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