On stage, surrounded by musicians and in front of a practically complete Soho Theater, Antonio Banderas this morning took a piece of paper from his pocket. “My letter is to tell you that I would be very proud to speak with you in person and that you live right in the apartment where I have resided for 30 years,” read the Malaga actor. The sender was Mercedes, 83, an amateur actress, who was in the audience and who was able to fulfill her wish. Like her, a hundred vaccinated elderly people today received a tribute in the form of a concert by the Soho Pop Symphony in the theater that Antonio Banderas has started in Malaga, the same one that hosted the Goya two months ago. “You are the columns of what we are, you make up the personality of a people. It is a pride to have them here ”, added the Malaga native. The solidarity event, which will be repeated this afternoon, tomorrow and the day after, will be attended by about 350 people.
With nerves and a smile behind the mask that could be seen in their eyes, for many of the people attending the concert was one of the first outings from home since the start of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. All the participants, both the Today, as well as those who will attend the weekend, they are part of the group cared for in their homes or in residences by the Harena Foundation, dedicated to the accompaniment of the elderly in the province of Malaga thanks to the work of a thousand volunteers. “The loneliness of our elders is the 21st century disease of developed societies. And our volunteering is a vaccine that brings them happiness, they give conversation, they accompany them for a walk or procedures such as going to the bank ”, explained the president of the social entity, Antonio Moreno. The event also has the support of the La Caixa Foundation and the Antonio Banderas Theater Foundation.
“You are probably the group that has suffered the most from the pandemic,” stressed the actor, who stressed that art “has great therapeutic value.” “I do not speak only as an interpreter, but also as a patient, as a person who has needed, at a certain moment, to use music, literature or movies to heal myself, to learn to live again,” said Banderas, who has been able to listen the testimonies of elderly people like Mari Cruz Cañedos, 90, a widow for 30 years and who barely leaves the house because she lives attached to a breathing machine and there is no elevator in her block. “When I need to go out, a neighbor lends me a chair and I go out on my shoulders, like bullfighters,” said the woman with a sense of humor. “I’m sick and when I was discharged from the hospital, what scared me the most was going home alone, but the Harena Foundation volunteers have given me life,” added Florinda Arenas, 91.
The Soho Pop Symphony is the orchestra in charge of honoring the elderly with their music. Under the baton of Arturo Díez Boscovich, musical director of the Soho Orchestra and Theater, the musicians perform the concert Film notes. A musical journey through the seventh art which includes music from movies like Aladdin, Blade Runner, Shark, Breakfast with diamonds, Amarcord, Encounters in the third phase O The empire strikes back. The start marks it gone With the Wind, “From when good films were made”, said Díez Boscovich, who started the concert with fanfare A celebration for the Soho Theater, which he himself has composed.
The biggest applause adds to the list of solidarity initiatives that Antonio Banderas – who passed the covid last summer – has developed in recent months. In April of last year, the Fundación Lágrimas y Favores, promoted by the Malaga native, distributed security material in hospitals in the province of Malaga in full confinement and one of the worst moments of the pandemic. “Two things come out clear from this crisis: that we are very vulnerable, an invisible monster shakes the whole world, and the need we have for each other,” he explained then in The Hormiguero when he was confined alone in his house in Marbella, since his girlfriend, Nicole Kimpel, was caught in Switzerland by the measure and he was unable to travel to Spain. Days later, Banderas and Pablo Alborán also announced the donation of 200,000 euros for the research. The protagonist of Pain and glory He has also participated for a decade in the solidarity gala of the Starlite festival. Now he has wanted to go a step further by honoring the elderly. “This theater is private, but even so it must have a public function,” he stressed.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.