tv 60 Minutes CBS August 12, 2012 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
captioning funded by cbs and ford-- built for the road ahead. >> schieffer: what did the governor say when he offered you the job? >> he essentially said we share the same values and i have the skills to complement him, to help get this country back on the right track. >> schieffer: what did you say? >> i said yes. >> safer: it's his first interview together since mitt romney announced his choice of paul ryan as his running mate. >> what was it that did it? >> this is a guy who is a real leader. he has gone to washington with
passion for making a difference. >> schieffer: what will be your role in the campaign? are you going to be the attack dog in. >> i'm going to help him win this race. >> inside you feel like a part of you has been ripped out from losing a job. >> pelly: almost one-third of the unemployed have been out of work for more than a year. it's been hard on them and the economy, but we found an experiment in retraining. >> the resume very soon will become an obsolete tool in the job search process. >> pelly: that may just offer a way back. you just got a new job. >> yes, i did. it brings a smile to my face. >> pelly: i see that. >> simon: tonight we're going to bring you to one of the poorest placings on earth, but you won't feel pity for any of our characters, only joy. >> [beethoven's "ode to joy" playing]. >> simon: while the members of the orchestra in the congo don't have any instrument, they enjoy
their music more than anyone we've ever met. [applause] >> i've steve kroft. >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm morley safer. >> i'm bob simon. >> i'm lara logan. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories tonight on "60 minutes." ♪ ♪ and everything's the same ♪ some new scenery would be nice to see ♪ ♪ ♪ so take me away ♪ it's time for a new thing [ male announcer ] need a little nudge to get started on your next project? how about 5% off everything, every day? that's 5% off anything and everything every day when you use your lowe's consumer credit card. lowe's. never stop improving. when you use your lowe's consumer credit card. are made with sweet cherries and the crisp,
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>> safer: in choosing wisconsin congressman paul ryan as his running mate, mitt romney has instantly remade his presidential campaign. congressman ryan, the energetic chairman of the house budget committee, is the republican master of all aspects of federal spending, and he comes complete with his own detailed conservative fiscal plan to remake the role of the federal government in everything from medicare and medicaid to tax policy and agriculture subsidies. in naming congressman ryan, governor romney has transformed the presidential campaign into an ideological battle. earlier this afternoon, the candidates joined bob schieffer for their very first interview together at a furniture factory
in high point, north carolina, where they'd been campaigning. >> schieffer: governor, i... i want to start with this. you have been going through this process of deciding who you wanted as your running mate for about three months-- very methodical, all of it conducted in secret. what i would like to know was there one point where there was one moment when you said, "this is the guy? this is my guy?" >> mitt romney: well, actually, you know, we've been working together for a while and, over the last year, paul and i have come together on some policy issues and sat down and discussed those things. i was impressed with his understanding of the issues that we were facing and... and all... also his political acumen. but then we spent some time on the campaign trail. i got to meet his wife and three children and was very impressed. but the final decision, bob, was not until really august 1st when i kept my mind open, but in... intrigued and inclined towards... towards paul for some
time, but i kept my mind open. and then, on august 1st, it was time to make that final decision. i... i called paul and said that "i'd like to meet you on sunday," and we sat down and made it happen. >> schieffer: well, what was it that did it? >> romney: well, you know, the... this is a guy who's a real leader. there are a lot of people who go to washington or go to their state houses with a personal ambition in mind. paul had a very different course laid out for his life and became convinced that he was needed to try and get the country back on track. and he has gone to washington with... with a passion for making a difference. >> schieffer: has this sunk in on you yet? >> paul ryan: it has. ( laughs ) because i've felt for a while now that our country is in a very perilous position. and i've done everything i could in my career as chairman of the budget committee to try and make a difference, to tackle this economic and fiscal challenge before it tackles us. sunday is when we had this conversation, and it took a little to sink in after that. ( laughs )
but to see all the... all americans coming out to these rallies hungry for solutions, hungry for people that provide leadership to get this country on the right track, i'm very excited about this. >> schieffer: what do you... >> ryan: and i really think we can turn this thing around. >> schieffer: and... and what... what did the governor say when he offered you... >> ryan: he essentially said... >> schieffer: ...the job? >> ryan: ...that we share the same values and that i have the kinds of experiences that complement his skills, that complement his experience. to help him govern, to execute a vision to get this country back on the right track. you know, to create jobs, to help people get back on the path in life. >> schieffer: what did you say? >> ryan: i said yes. ( laughter ) >> schieffer: just... just yes? >> romney: yes. >> ryan: i said i'm honored, i... i'm humbled, and i said yes. >> schieffer: how long had you been thinking paul ryan for? >> romney: well, you know, i... i'd been given a number of people consideration, and there were some terrific people who could become president of the united states as paul... i mean, paul could become, if it were necessary, could become president. he has the experience and... and
judgment, capacity and character to become... to become president. and that was the first and most important criteria. >> schieffer: congressman, this is going to change your whole life. and what did your family think about it? >> ryan: well, we've dedicated much of our lives to saving this country, to public service. i had planned a different path for my life when i was younger, and i felt a calling to public service. and jan and i, my wife and i, discussed this at great length. it is going to change our life, but we really think that this is a moment in the country that needs leadership. and we really think that we can make a big difference and get our country
back on track. >> schieffer: now i understand you're also going to run for reelection in your congressional seat. are you kind of hedging your bets here? >> ryan: no, i'm already on the ballot. you can't even go off the ballet. so i've already filed. our filing deadline was in june. i'm already on the ballot, so it has nothing to do with that. >> schieffer: and congressman ryan, governor, is known up on the hill as a teacher. he's a real expert on the budget. he... he helps other people understand it. do you think he... does he knows some things that... will you
learn from him? >> romney: well, i sure hope so. i can't imagine you'd have two people that couldn't learn from one another. and... and obviously his experience on the hill and working with... with a wide array of issues is something which will, in fact... in fact already has been an input to my campaign and will be going forward. i... you know, i... well, i expect to... to work with him. if we become president and vice president, we'll work together, looking at issues together. important decisions will be made with his consultations along with other individuals. and obviously i have to make the final
call in important decisions. but... but this is... this is a man who's dedicated the last 14 years working in washington in ways that are not highly partisan or political, but instead are focused on what he thinks the right course is for america. and that's the kind of person i want. this is a man who's also very analytical. he's a policy guy. people know him as a policy guy. that's one of the reasons he has such respect on both sides of the aisle. i... i'm a policy guy, believe
it or not. i love policy. i love solving tough problems. and we face real challenges around the world, places like syria, egypt, iran. we've got real problems. domestically, you have 23 million americans out of work or stopped looking for work. the... the president has not been able to get this economy going. i believe that you have to have folks that have the kind of capacity and experience that we have to get america back on track. what will be your role in the campaign? are you going to be the attack dog? >> i'm going to help him win this race so we can do it for the american people. we're going to split up more often than not and double our efforts. so to me this is... it was so, to me, this is... this is... it was one against two for a while. now it's two against two. we're going to redouble our efforts and we're going to bring a message to the country. "here's how you get the country back on track." >> schieffer: you made a point of... of praising governor romney for his accomplishments as governor of massachusetts and at bain capital.
i'm just going to put you on the spot here. >> romney: okay. >> schieffer: did you think he's been too defensive about bain capital? >> ryan: no, not at all. >> schieffer: as... >> ryan: no, i think... >> schieffer: ...as his role of governor of massachusetts? >> ryan: what i see happening is, the president has a terrible record so he can't run on that. he didn't moderate his positions whatsoever throughout his term, so he doesn't really have much to run on. so he's going to try and run on these distractions. he's going to try and divide people, to distract people to what... try and win this election. and that's why these attacks against a record that is outstanding. it's a record of creating businesses and turning around struggling businesses. that's what we want to see happen throughout the country because it creates more jobs, it creates better take home pay, it gives people better futures. why wouldn't we want a leader like that who knows how to make those kinds of executive decisions in the white house to help us turn this economy around. >> schieffer: what... what will be-- congressman ryan's role, if indeed you are elected, and he is as vice president? will you send him up to the hill? will you put him in charge of certain things? >> romney: well, i anticipate that there will be certain areas that are his areas of expertise and he has passion and concern
there. that he'll actually take a lead role in helping oversee those areas and maybe some cabinet, officers who will work primarily with... with the vice president. but he would also have a role in helping shepherd legislation on the hill. of course, you have a legislative affairs director that... that takes that kind of lead, as well, but you... you can't imagine having someone like paul ryan, who's been able to work with democrat senators, democrat members of the house as well as republicans, been able to make things happen there. i can't imagine not using him. and... and... and to have his skill in finding those people that... that can come together and find common ground, despite differing views on issues. the... this is... this is one of the key reasons i've selected him, is that he has that unusual, almost a unique capacity to find people of different parties who are of a common purpose that can come together to do something that's right for the county. >> schieffer: congressman, what's happened to capitol hill?
congress cannot seem to get anything done anymore. even... even when there are things that both seem to want to do, they can't seem to find a way to... >> ryan: it's the worst... >> schieffer: ...get it done. >> ryan: i've seen it since i've been in wa... in congress for 14 years. it starts, in my opinion, with a fundamental lack of leadership. president obama has not provided the kind of leadership we need to bring people together. the senate hasn't passed a budget for three years, even though we have a budget law that says you have to pa... pass a budget every year. so it's dysfunctional. what we want to do-- and we think we've done this in the house-- is we're planting the seeds for bipartisan compromises on the big issues of the day. it could be realized next year if we can get things done. and that's why we think we need to have an election to give the country a choice to put our country back on the right track. and then we need leadership to bring people together. he has proven... when he was governor of massachusetts, he had to work with democratic legislatures to get things done. he did that. >> schieffer: you know, i must say, governor, you did something that seldom happens in american politics when you announced your choice was the congressman here.
conservatives were delighted. they said it was a bold move and a bold stroke. but i have to say, democrats seemed equally... ( laughs ) ...delighted about this because they said that they think that congressman ryan's budget plan, with its overhaul of medicare, with cuts in social programs, education, it's just going to drive voters their way. how do you respond to that? >> romney: well, what i respond... is very simple, and that is america has a choice, a very clear choice. are we going to continue to spend a trillion dollars more every year than we take in and pass that burden to our children? >> schieffer: there's no question your campaign has been trying to make this election a referendum on barack obama. now, some people are saying you are making it a referendum on paul... on paul ryan's budget plan. >> romney: well, i have my budget plan as you know that i've... i've put out, and that's the budget plan that we're going to run on. at the same time, we have the record of president obama. if people think, by the way, if
their utility bill has gone down, they should vote for him. if they think jobs are more plentiful, they should vote for him. >> schieffer: you said yesterday... i'm going to quote you, mr. ryan: "america is a place where if you work hard and play by the rules, you can get ahead." but the fact is, a lot of people don't think that's true. they don't think the rules are fair. they think corporations and rich people are getting all these breaks, and they're getting stuck with paying the bills. they see some of the wealthiest paying the lowest tax rates. how... how are you going to fix that? >> ryan: what i see is a new amount of current capitalism and current welfare which both parties have been engaged in, but the president has brought this to a whole new level. where president obama is picking winners and losers based on connections, based on fads like... like solyndra and basically giving handouts to businesses, given preference to
tax code. we want to get washington out of the business of picking winners and losers. we want entrepreneurs to have the barriers removed from in front of them so that people can work hard and succeed. we want to turn the american idea back on. we want a system of upward mobility, and what we think we need to do is bring fairness back to the system of getting government bureaucracy and political clout of the system. those are the kinds of reforms we've been talking about. >> schieffer: does fairness dictate that the wealthiest people should not be paying the lowest taxes? but that's what happens many times. >> romney: it... well, fairness dictates that the highest income people should pay the greatest share of taxes, and... and they do. and the... the commitment that i've made is that we will not have the top income earners in this country pair... pay a smaller share of the tax burden. the... the highest income people will continue to pay the largest share of the tax burden, and middle income taxpayers under my plan get a break. their taxes come down. so, we're not going to reduce taxes for high income people, and we are going to reduce taxes for middle income people. >> schieffer: you say, of course, the wealthiest people pay the larger share, but don't
they also pay at a lower rate? when you figure in capital gains and all of that? >> romney: well, it depends on the individual and what... what their source of income is. but if you look at the top 1% or 5% or quartile, whatever, they pay the largest share of taxes. and that's not something which i would propose making smaller. >> ryan: what we're saying is, take away the tax shelters that are uniquely enjoyed by people in the top tax brackets so they can't shelter as much money from taxation, should lower tax rates for everybody to make america more competitive. >> schieffer: how many years of tax returns did you turn over to the campaign? >> ryan: well, it... it was a very exhaustive vetting process. it's a confidential vetting process, so there were several years. but i'm going to release the... the same amount of years that governor romney has. but i got to tell you, bob... >> schieffer: and how many was that? >> ryan: he's... two. he's... i'm going to be releasing two, which is what he's releasing. what i hear from people around this country, they're not asking where are the tax returns? they're asking where the jobs are. where's the economic growth? those are the issues that matter. i think these are more or less distractions to try and take us
off the fact that the president has given us failed policies that aren't working, that are putting us deeper into debt that are costing us jobs. and so, we're going to focus on what it takes to turn this country around and get people back to work. >> schieffer: governor, there was... there was really a funny moment yesterday at the rally when you introduced paul ryan as the next president of the united states. >> romney: ( laughs ) yes. >> schieffer: when did you realize you had done that? >> romney: you know, i couldn't believe i'd done it. i came down and... and stood next to my son and my wife. he said, "you just introduced him as the next president." i said, "no, i didn't." i... he said, "yes, you did." i said, "no, i didn't." my wife turns and says, "yes, you did." so, i just jumped back up on the stage and corrected myself. ( laughter ) >> schieffer: did you catch it? >> ryan: i did. i didn't... i just sort of rolled with it. >> romney: i understand... i understand president obama did the same thing in introducing joe biden... >> schieffer: i think that's true. >> romney: ...four years before. i guess it's... we hear the phrase so often, "the next president of the united states," that those words just come tripping off your lips.
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the length of joblessness been as long as it has been recently. nearly four million people, about a third of the unemployed, have been out of work more than a year. they've been severed from the workforce. ben bernanke, chairman of the federal reserve, calls it "a national crisis." to understand what's happening, earlier this year, we went to stamford, connecticut, to see an experiment that might just offer a way back for americans trapped in unemployment. >> frank o'neill: they started to go through round after round of layoffs, and i got caught in one of the layoffs there. >> pelley: the great recession arrived early for frank o'neill. >> o'neill: it was a cold day in february. >> pelley: it was february, 2008. o'neill was a credit consultant for an i.t. company. what happened? >> o'neill: they called me into the vice-president's office. and he basically told me that they were having some financial difficulty and told me that my last day was going to be that day. i got a small, little severance out of it and was off into the
world of the unemployed. >> pelley: what have the last three years been like for you? >> o'neill: you have those moments, you know, where you're the only one in the house, and you're sitting in front of the computer looking for a job and you go, "when's this ever going to break for me?" >> pelley: how many people have signed up for unemployment? everybody. no one we met in stamford expected to be out of work this long. how many have run to the end of the unemployment benefits? everyone. those unemployment benefits end after 99 weeks. these folks have been out of work two years, three, even four. they're college educated professionals in their 40s or 50s, people who thought their company would take them all the way to retirement. vernon? >> vernon downes: i was very angry. i was very bitter. i was fed up with society, the corporate world, the lies, deceit, the greed.
>> pelley: they don't look it, but they have fallen out of the middle class-- turned in cars, gone on food stamps, taken kids out of college, and faced foreclosure. now, they've pinned their last hopes on joe carbone. >> joe carbone: the word "carnage" is a strong word, but i can't think of a better word, in this case, and what aggravates me is that there isn't outrage. we ought to be angry. we ought to be giving every moment of our time figuring out how we're going to restore, for them, the american dream. >> pelley: joe carbone is president of something called the workplace. it's the state unemployment office in southwest connecticut where people get job training and placement help. carbone has a reputation for innovative job programs. but he has never seen so many people out of work so long. >> carbone: there is no comparison to being unemployed for six months and being unemployed for 99 weeks.
your needs change in a drastic way. >> pelley: and what is the change? >> carbone: the change is the mind. that two years of unemployment erodes your self-confidence, your self-esteem. it separates you from your profession, your education, whatever you might have done previously. there's all sorts of things. it causes divorces. it causes problems with children. >> pelley: what's insidious is how hidden these people are. carbone's territory has some of the richest towns in the nation. the commuter lines are arteries to the heart of corporate power in new york. but a lot of people walking around in suits haven't had a job in years. >> carbone: my job is to get people into a career. >> pelley: carbone has more than 14,000 who have spent their last unemployment check with nowhere to go. >> carbone: i can't tell you how this bothers me. i can't tell you what this has done to me. it's not just the numbers. it's... scott, it's the stories
that you've heard. >> inside, you feel like a part of you has been ripped out from losing a job. >> pelley: this is how joe carbone intends to restore their american dream. he calls it "platform to employment." it's a half-million dollar program that he raised the money for from businesses and charities. we went along for five weeks as a class of 28 learned how to claw their way back to employment. >> downes: i was so ashamed to reach out for help because i felt discouraged. i felt ashamed that i had failed. >> pelley: vernon downes was a project manager for a company that made medical devices. he's been working to find a job for two and a half years. >> downes: i've done everything that i was told to do-- the education, the certification-- and i still couldn't get a job. >> pelley: he's on food stamps, found work with a landscape company, and was glad to get it. >> downes: so then i said "okay, if i have to do leaf blowing to get some sort of an income, i'm willing to do that."
and that's what i'm doing and that's how i get by day to day. >> pelley: did any of you wonder whether you were the only one? >> yeah. absolutely. >> diane graham: it was a very isolating experience for me. >> pelley: diane graham was an executive assistant. for three years, she's been scraping together part-time work. but she's on food stamps, and she had to move in with her sister. >> graham: i was possibly looking at... looking at homelessness. so, i... i was terrified. >> carbone: our goal objective of platform to employment-- "p2e"-- is to reconnect you to the workforce. >> pelley: they're in class four days a week, and the very first thing they learned was to confront their fears and depression. >> graham: for me, it's been just debilitating fear that i won't be able to take care of myself. >> carbone: the resume-- the resume very soon will become an obsolete tool in the job search process. >> pelley: they were introduced to how much has changed since the last time they got a job. >> carbone: when they're
considering hiring you for a job, they're going to go to the internet and see what comes up. if you have nothing that shows up, you're not relevant. >> pelley: they practiced job interviews. >> i'm noticing a gap, frank. it's looking really good up until about 2008, so could you give me a little explanation about what happened there. >> pelley: and they learned to navigate the new bias, the unspoken reason they've been turned down again and again. did you ever have the sense that you and others were being discriminated against because of how long you'd been unemployed? >> o'neill: there's no doubt. i mean, i've seen it in print, whether it's some newspaper ads or online during those types of advertisements, i've actually seen, "if you are unemployed, you need not apply." >> pelley: just look at the web. you see the phrase everywhere, "must be currently employed."
businesses can't legally discriminate by age, race or sex, but there's a new minority group now, the long-term unemployed. everybody knows we're in a terrible state in this country. why would a stigma attach to being unemployed for a year or two or three? >> carbone: i mean, there's a sense that, if a person's out of work for a year or longer, they might be lazy; they might very well be people that would prefer to be home; or "they've lost too much already to be useful to me." it's unfair and it's wrong. we can use a search bar on facebook. >> pelley: platform to employment was a little like boot camp. >> carbone: there's hundreds of social media sites, but linkedin, it's the number one for anything professional. >> "managing director, ibm." >> pelley: and over time, we saw something new-- confidence. >> downes: what the program has done for me, it brought vernon back. i know who i am. i know this is the vernon that i know.
that other person, for the past post-2009, i didn't know who that was. so i'm back. i'm back in the game. >> o'neill: i was so prideful and so stubborn that i would not apply for part-time positions. i wasn't going to go work at the grocery store nearby, i wasn't going to go flip burgers. "i have a college education, i've been successful at work, i've been working for 30 years. i'm not doing this." so, when this opportunity for platform to employment came along, i joined it and it changed my mindset. >> pelley: after the classes are over, platform to employment opens the door on its biggest innovation-- it's an internship with a business that's looking to hire. tell me what that first day was like walking through the door. >> o'neill: it was nice to be a part of the workforce, having to go to work in the morning, rather than get up in the morning and go look for work.
>> pelley: here, the office intern isn't a college student, he's 50-something, educated and experienced. for eight weeks, frank o'neill would work at cain management, which owns fast food restaurants. platform to employment pays o'neill's salary. what do you have to prove, and how do you think that's going to work out? >> o'neill: they told me right off the bat, "we have a job and it's got to get done. and you need to prove yourself that you're the person who can get this job done for us." >> pelley: fair enough. >> o'neill: absolutely. all we're looking for is an opportunity. >> pelley: 100 people enrolled in platform to employment and, after a year, almost 70 have jobs. vernon downes found work in his field, information technology, at a company called career resources. diane graham got a call. after three years, of hearing "no," she didn't know how to respond to "yes." >> graham: the manager called me. you know, he gave me the brief details.
"we'd like to have you on board, like to start monday." and i... i really froze on the phone. and i think he... he sensed it, because he said to me, "you know, you take few minutes to think about it and call me back." and i... and when i hung up the phone, i'm like, "is... are you crazy? what do i have to think about?" i was just really, really in shock. i was just not expecting it all. >> good to see you. >> pelley: she's working at lex products, which makes power systems for industry. >> graham: being in the hustle bustle of everybody going to work-- i missed that. i truly missed it. >> pelley: it's not just about a paycheck. >> graham: no. no, no. wherein, in the past, it might have been, but this has become about my dignity. >> pelley: and at the end of his internship, frank o'neill heard from the boss. you just got a new job. >> o'neill: yes, i did. brings a smile to my face. >> pelley: i see that. where do you see yourself three months from now? employed? >> yeah. yes. yes. >> pelley: yes? oh, everybody. on graduation day, there was
quite a change in the people that we first met that first day in class. >> vernon downes. ( applause ) >> pelley: joe carbone hopes his experiment might be a model for the other four million and counting whose lives have been broken by the great recession. i wonder if you have a message to all of those people, the 38,000 people a week who join this group, who've run out of their unemployment checks and still have no prospects? >> carbone: i can't promise people jobs, but i can promise that we've taken a big step. and the steps will continue. i want them to know that help is on the way. we're not going to stop until the issue is addressed in a fair and honorable, honest and american way. what did you just do? oh, it's a free song. by touching a poster?
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>> simon: beauty has a way of turning up in places where you'd least expect it. we went to the congo earlier this year, the poorest country in the world. kinshasa, the capital, has a population of ten million, and almost nothing in the way of hope or peace. but there's a well-kept secret down there. kinshasa has a symphony orchestra-- the only one in central africa, the only all- black one in the world. it's called the kimbanguist symphony orchestra. we'd never heard of it. no one we called had ever heard of it. but when we got there, we were surprised to find 200 musicians
and vocalists who've never played outside kinshasa, or have been outside kinshasa. we were even more surprised to find joy in the congo. when we told the musicians they would be on "60 minutes," they didn't know what we were talking about, but, still, they invited us to a performance. we caught up with them as they were preparing outside their concert hall, a rented warehouse. as curtain time neared, we had no idea what to expect. but maestro armand diangienda seemed confident, and began the evening with a bang. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
the music, "carmina burana," was written by german composer carl orff 75 years ago. did he ever dream that it would be played in the congo? it wouldn't have been if it hadn't been for armand and a strange twist of fate. armand was a commercial pilot until 20 years ago, when his airline went bust. so, like ex-pilots often do, he decided to put together an orchestra. he was just missing a few things. you had no musicians, you had no teachers, you had no instruments. >> armand diangienda: yes. >> simon: and you had no one who knew how to read music? >> diangienda: no, nobody. nobody. >> simon: armand's english is limited. he preferred speaking french, congo's official language. when you started asking people if they wanted to be members of
this orchestra, did they have any idea what you were talking about? "in the beginning," he said, "people made fun of us, saying here in the congo, classical music puts people to sleep." but armand pressed on. he taught himself how to read music and play the piano, play the trombone, the guitar, and the cello. he talked a few members of his church into joining him. they brought their friends, which brought more problems. "we only had five or six violins," he said, "for the 12 people who wanted to learn how to play the violin." "so they took turns," he said. "one would play for 15 or 20 minutes at a time. that was very difficult." but more instruments started coming in. some were donated; others rescued from local thrift shops in various states of disrepair. then, it was up to albert , the orchestra's surgeon, to heal them.
he wasn't always gentle with his patients, but they survived. armand told us that when a violin string broke in those early days, they used whatever they had at hand to fix it. you took the wire from a bicycle? >> diangienda: bicycle, yes. >> simon: the brake of a bicycle and turned it into a string for a violin? >> diangienda: yes. >> simon: and it played music? >> diangienda: oui. >> simon: and with every functioning instrument, more would-be musicians poured in. before long, armand's house became a makeshift conservatory. armand was the dean. every room, every corridor, no matter how small or dark or stifling, was teeming with sound. outdoors, the parking lot was a quiet spot to practice the viola. but even this was an oasis compared to what was on the other side of the walls.
the congo is, after all, a war- torn country, has been for 60 years. this is where most of the musicians live, on unpaved streets with little in the way of running water, electricity, or sanitation. the musicians don't get paid for playing in the orchestra. some work in the market, selling whatever they can. very few people in kinshasa make more than $50 a month... or live past 50. sylvie mbela's life has gotten even more demanding since she started in the orchestra 17 years ago. she's got three kids now. there are no daycare centers in the neighborhood, so the kids are always with her, never far from her fiddle. but when she turns from mother to musician, she says she has left this planet, she is not in the congo anymore. ♪ ♪ for years, sylvie and the
orchestra played on, but only in kinshasa. no one outside the congo knew anything about them until 2010. that's when two german filmmakers made a documentary, which was shown in germany. it so inspired musicians in germany, they sent down instruments, and then themselves to give master classes. ♪ ♪ opera vocalists rolf schmitz- malburg and sabine kallhammer came to teach technique and diction. and if you ever questioned that music is the universal language, watch this, a german-speaking teacher tutoring a french- speaking african how to sing an aria in italian. ♪ ♪
but when rolf and sabine moved onto the full choir, it wasn't so easy. were they pleased to see you? do you think that they said, "oh, how wonderful we have two white people here to teach us how to play music"? >> sabina kallhammer: they had experiences with other white people, so i can really understand that they were careful and a little shy. but... but they really were open to learn. >> simon: at times, they weren't sure what they were learning or why. "what was this all about?" the exercises are designed to loosen you up, the germans explained, and after a while, they did. >> kallhammer: and then they started to sing for us, and then we were, like... ♪ ♪
>> kallhammer: their faces change when they do their music. ♪ ♪ i mean, if you live in kinshasa, there is no culture life here, so these people have to find a way to go to some other places. making music is one way to go on a trip, a cheap trip because you can just close your eyes. they do that very often, and they are somewhere else. >> bien, bravo, bravo. merci beaucoup. >> simon: rolf moved on to the
next class. that's where we met two tenors, brothers carrime and valvi bilolo. ♪ ♪ they live in the countryside, ten miles from armand's place. they took us there. the boys' parents, two brothers and a sister share a three-room blockhouse. carrime and valvi certainly had to learn the importance of harmony growing up here, so by the time they met armand, harmony was second nature. when did you join the orchestra? >> ( speaking french ) >> simon: the 8th of november in 2003. >> carrime bilolo: yes. >> simon: why do you think you remember the exact date? >> carrime bilolo: ( speaking french ) >> simon: "well," he said, "it's like a birth for us in this symphony orchestra, so it's a date we can't forget." and this is how they get to rehearsal, six days a week-- 90 minutes each way.
some would call it a trek; for them, it's a commute. when they get downtown, the last stretch is on a bus. what keeps them going? the music-- always, the music. ♪ ♪ >> kallhammer: they come here every day, they sing, and they go home. it's really amazing. ♪ ♪ >> simon: it's pretty difficult to relate to that, isn't it? >> kallhammer: yeah. i don't think that anybody would do that, with this conditions, in our country, no. >> simon: the boys and the choir have quite a repertoire now: bach, mendelssohn, handel... and, of course, beethoven.
the week we were there, the orchestra was rehearsing beethoven's ninth symphony. not exactly starter music, but armand was determined to take it on. and like a good general, he reviewed all his troops. ♪ ♪ the choir-- okay. ♪ ♪ the strings? not bad. ♪ ♪ but the full orchestra? not quite. >> diangienda: ( speaking french ) >> simon: "french horns," he said, "you're hitting it too hard." >> diangienda: ( speaking french ) >> simon: "be mindful of the echo," he told the string section. >> diangienda: ( speaking french ) >> simon: finally, it all came together. ♪ ♪
it has been played with more expertise before. but with more joy? hard to imagine. ♪ ♪ ( cheers and applause ) >> go to 60minutesovertime.com to see the kimbanguist symphony orchestra perform famous compositions, hymns and the songs from our story. compositions, hymns and the songs from our story. sponsored by pfizer. vitamins and minerals and protein so kids get the nutrition they need to start the day right. carnation breakfast essentials. good nutrition from the start. there's so many choices. the guests come in and they're like yeah i want to try this shrimp and i want to try this kind. they wait for this all year long. [ male announcer ] red lobster's endless shrimp is back, but only for a limited time, for just $14.99. try as much as you like any way you like,
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