Yamaha Releases a Documentary of the I’m a HERO Program

MEDELLÍN, Colombia–(BUSINESS WIRE)–From March 31st to September 30th, Yamaha Corporation ran the I’m
a HERO Program
for children in the Republic of Colombia
(hereinafter, “Colombia”). In order to help children discover within
themselves the strength to face invisible barriers in their lives, this
program exposes children to the joy of performing music, and also to
significant challenges.

After a huge effort, 26 children from the slums of Medellin, Colombia
performed the Colombian national anthem in front of a huge crowd at a
soccer stadium, their big stage.

Yamaha will release a documentary about their story. Through their
interaction with music, these children start to find out changes within
themselves. It is a story of small heroes who overcame adversity.

– Trailer (2min 33sec)




– Documentary (55min 2sec)


– I’m a HERO Program Official Website



  • I’m a HERO Program – With an instrument in hand, you become a hero

Throughout the world, children face invisible barriers that limit their
futures—inequality and poverty, as well as discrimination, prejudice,
and other disadvantages that these problems cause.

The I’m a HERO Program encourages children to take center stage in
overcoming these invisible barriers, to support them to become a hero,
an icon of fighting against and overcoming adversity, through a
significant challenge, to perform in a big stage.

26 children who participated in this program were from the ages of 7 to
13, most of them living in a slum area within Medellin, Colombia, where
crimes happen every day.*

* Please see “The reasons we chose Colombia as the stage – Latin America
and their social music actions” for more details

The beginning of this program centered around a brand new instrument,
Venova, for children with little or no experience playing an instrument
before. They put their best effort to learn how to play the Colombian
national anthem with this reed instrument which delivers the feel of a
conventional wind instrument and easy fingering as that of a recorder.

However, their hard work for over half a year was not easy. In the slum
area, you have to face the physical challenges to get to cities and
practice every day. With kindness and sometimes strict support from
their families, they finally faced the big day.

Sunday, September 30th. A match of the Colombian Premier Football
League. After a video showing “journey”, the names of 26 heroes were
called and entered the football field with the players of Atlético
Nacional football club, in front of a huge crowd.

Football is extremely popular in Colombia. Atlético Nacional,
especially, is a strong Medellín-based club that has won the Colombian
national league championship 16 times. Children are particularly
awestruck by the players of Atlético Nacional.

After the performance, their faces were held high, looking straight
forward with pride. Through interaction with music for the past six
months, children felt that something has changed within themselves. They
overcame the invisible barrier and became a hero.

Yamaha will continue to believe in the power of music and face social
challenges in various ways through our activities.

Comments from people involved

  • Luidison Morales Borja (A 13-year-old boy participant, a.k.a.

    By participating in the program, I learned how
    dangerous are the places I was hanging out. I stopped myself from
    going to those places and practiced Venova instead. Now I can also
    choose the music I want to listen to. I like songs with messages, but
    without bad things. I think heroes are someone who can achieve things
    and fight for people. You don’t have to be a superman.
  • Ruth Biviana Morales (Mother of Luidison Morales Borja)
    was a who you may call “a bad kid” before. But after being involved in
    this program, he started to concentrate on music. Music brought
    positive changes to Paccho. He is now a son who not only helps me with
    the chores but who helps out surrounding people. I think music is
    something that gives out chances and opportunities to change.
  • Federico Gutiérrez Zuluaga, Mayor of Medellín
    The children
    who took part in this project are truly symbolic of our city. Their
    aspirations will help many people. And everyone involved is creating
    this opportunity is also a hero. I am very grateful.
    The most
    valuable things in Medellín are not just the scenery like the
    mountains and flowers but also the people and their talents. People
    are constantly moving forward. There is already hope in this city, and
    even though there is still poverty, there is constant hope of a bright
    future. My hope is that they become the symbol of this hope and spread
    their positive influence.
  • Keiichiro Morishita, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary,
    Embassy of Japan in Colombia

    I was touched by the children
    playing the Colombian national anthem. And they are no special people.
    But they are definitely heroes, who can achieve something for others.
    I hope that they will continue to challenge new things and strive for
    their dreams, treasuring this experience.
    I would also like to
    express my appreciation to all the stakeholders who were devoted to
    preparing such a wonderful event on the auspicious 110th year of
    amicable relations between Japan and Colombia.

The reasons we chose Colombia as the stage – Latin America and their
social music actions

Currently, in Latin America, where Colombia is also located, there is a
movement to counter social problems such as delinquency and poverty with
the power of music, and Yamaha has been supporting this movement.

In Venezuela, there is a government-backed music education project
called El Sistema. Implemented as a national strategy to prevent
delinquency and eradicate poverty, El Sistema aims to promote
society-wide stability by engaging children in musical activities and
securing future employment opportunities for them. Yamaha supports these
efforts, and for the last 15 years has contributed by promoting
instrument maintenance techniques and training instrument repair

In Colombia, youth orchestras and bands were launched in Medellín (Red
de Escuelas de Música de Medellín) and Bogotá (Fundación Nacional
Batuta), for example. Yamaha also played a hand in the creation of a
scholarship program called ToKANDO, which is run by Fundación Incolmotos
Yamaha, a major partner of ours in Latin America. 26 children
participated in the I’m a HERO Program were mainly from ToKANDO living
in the slum area.

New challenges have also appeared proceeding with these activities.
There was a lack of awareness of the importance of and methods used for
instrument maintenance, exacerbated by the fact that there are few
people who are able to repair broken instruments. To address this
problem, we launched the AMIGO Project in 2014, offering workshops to
enable people to maintain instruments on their own, and promoting the
training of technicians who can repair broken instruments.


I’m a HERO Program Overview

Target country:


Republic of Colombia

Target people:

26 boys and girls aged 7-13 mainly from the local scholarship
program ToKANDO

Provided content:

Providing Venova wind instruments, support for practice at each
organization, providing a presentation stage

Duration: *1

– Performance: Sunday, September 30. Kickoff at 17:30
played the national anthem before the kickoff

– Practice: March 31-September 29

Performance occasion:

Categoría Primera A Colombian premier football league match 12,
Nacional vs. Boyacá Chicó
Performance of the national anthem
before kickoff

Performance venue: *2

Estadio Atanasio Girardo

Official website:



*1: Both are local time. *2: A multi-purpose stadium in Medellín,


Venova™: A new wind instrument that is sturdy and easy to

Venova was developed with the philosophy of creating more music
makers. The Venova delivers a sound that is very similar to the
saxophone, without the complicated structure and the multitude of
parts. In contrast, the branched-pipe structure and shorter body
thanks to the sinuous shape make the Venova a compact instrument
with only as many keys as needed. It is made of lightweight, sturdy
and washable ABS plastic, so it can be taken anywhere with ease.
While the fingering is as easy to learn as that of a recorder, the
Venova is a genuine reed instrument that delivers the feel of a
conventional wind instrument.