BSO OrchKids Host "El Sistema in the United States," May 7
Concert features students from several El Sistema-based programs
Baltimore, Md. (April 21, 2011) - The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's OrchKids will collaborate with students from Virginia Symphony's "Soundscapes," Philadelphia Youth Orchestra's "Tune Up Philly," and The People's Music School's "YOURS" for a day of music making and celebration of the El Sistema movement in the United States on Saturday, May 7 at Lockerman Bundy Elmentary School (LBES). The day-long event culminates in a concert that is open to the public at 5 p.m. at LBES. Tune Up Philly, Y.O.U.R.S., Soundscapes, and OrchKids are four of the nation's most innovative and successful El Sistema-inspired programs in the United States. This event will be the first of its kind in the nation. Please see below for complete event details.
In spring 2008, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra launched OrchKids, a music education and life enrichment program that now serves more than 250 students in two locations, and has been recognized by national media such as PBS, NPR, Symphony Magazine, and CBS's Sixty Minutes. OrchKids is modeled after El Sistema, the Venezuelan orchestral training program that in 30 years has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in that country's most impoverished areas. Founded in 1975 by economist Jose Antonio Abreu as Social Action for Music, Venezuela's El Sistema program has grown into a social movement. Officially known as Fundamusical Bolivar and funded by the Venezuelan government, El Sistema uses music to protect the social welfare of its young people. Comprised of hundreds of youth orchestras throughout the country, children are taught instruments at an early age and continue through the program into young adulthood. The program is well known for its many successes in positively affecting the lives of young people from the country's most impoverished, crime-ridden neighborhoods. Some program participants have gone on to have major international careers, including the music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel.
Inspired by El Sistema's success, orchestras, community music schools, faith-based organizations, public and private schools and funding organizations throughout the world have created music programs modeled after El Sistema that seek to use music as the vehicle of social change. The El Sistema in America event is the first of its kind in the United States, where several El Sistemainspired programs unite for a day-long festival of music making and celebration.
OrchKids is a year-round after-school music program designed to create social change and nurture promising futures for youth in Baltimore City neighborhoods. Under Music Director Marin Alsop's artistic leadership and direction, OrchKids is a cornerstone of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's efforts to expand the Orchestra's relevance within the City's broad and diverse community. In collaboration with several community partners, OrchKids provides music education, instruments, meals and mentorship at no cost to Baltimore's neediest youngsters.
The program is inspired by Venezuela's El Sistema, the music program that in 30 years has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in that country's most impoverished areas. Like El Sistema, OrchKids is intended primarily to address the most pervasive social challenges affecting underserved youth, using music to cultivate fundamental life skills such as self-expression, cooperative learning, discipline and creativity. With assistance from The Family League of Baltimore City and the University of Maryland Baltimore County, the BSO has implemented several assessment tools to track if OrchKids participants are achieving social, academic and musical outcomes.
For the 2010-2011 school year, OrchKids serves more than 250 pre-K through fifth grade students at Lockerman Bundy Elementary School and at New Song Academy in West Baltimore. Under OrchKids Director of Artistic Programming Dan Trahey, students receive classroom music instruction during the school day and in after-school sessions four days a week from 3:30-6:15 p.m. A typical after-school session includes classroom music instruction, group instrument lessons, tutoring assistance and a nutritious meal, courtesy of East Side Entrees. OrchKids also frequently have the opportunity to take field trips to local organizations and attend Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concerts.
Virginia Symphony's Soundscapes believes that children with a strong sense of self-worth, discipline and leadership skills are equipped to conquer their disadvantages and achieve their dreams. Soundscapes is built on the premise that music is a perfect vehicle to build these invaluable life-skills as well as many more. Inspired by the wildly successful youth orchestra program in Venezuela, known as El Sistema, co-founders Anne Henry and Rey Ramirez launched the program in 2009 at Carver Elementary, Newport News, Virginia.
About YOURS Project
Conceived of and started by Deborah Wanderley dos Santos and named after The People's Music School founder, Rita Simo, the YOURS Project (Youth Orchestras United Rita Simo) is a special initiative of the People's Music School. Its mission is to develop social and cultural awareness, foster responsibility, and provide necessary tools for success. This is done in the context of building a system of youth orchestras in inner-city Chicago, modeled after the El Sistema program developed by Jose Antonio Abreu in Venezuela.
Deborah, Milan Miskovic, and a group of idealistic volunteers launched the YOURS Project at Hibbard Elementary School in October 2008, using donated instruments and makeshift accessories. The program, which meets every day before and after school, and on Saturdays, started with 35 kids. Today, in partnership with the Ravinia Festival, the Hibbard Nucleo now has over 160 students in three different levels of orchestras. Students from the YOURS Project have played in venues all over Chicago, including Symphony Center, and in October 2010, members of the top orchestra traveled to Turin, Italy to participate in the Terra Madre 2010 music festival.
Tune Up Philly
Tune Up Philly is the new, after-school musical education program of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra at St. Francis de Sales School in southwest Philadelphia designed to nurture urban children living in challenging social and economic conditions by keeping them engaged in success through weekday out-of-school hour's musical instruction. Most of the 80 students in Tune Up Philly did not previously study classical music. The program commenced in September 2010 and will run through July 2011, offering free concerts to the public. Instructed by a dozen local, professional musicians, the students in Tune Up Philly train five days a week with concentrations in woodwind, brass, strings, percussion, choral and general music education. Tune Up Philly believes that music education is a powerful vehicle for children to master skills that will enable them to acquire valuable tools for cooperative learning, teamwork, academic
success and self-esteem.
COMPLETE EVENT DETAILS
El Sistema in America
Saturday, May 7 at 5 p.m. - Lockerman Bundy Elementary School, 301 North Pulaski St.,
Baltimore, Maryland 21223
Dan Trahey and Molly Peterson, conductors
Dan Trahey, Director
Tune Up Philly
Stanford Thompson, Director
Rey Ramirez, Director
Deborah Dos Santos, Director
Beethoven: Ode to Joy
Rossini: Overture to William Tell
Janet Jackson: Can't Stop Till You Get Enough
Traditional, Arr. Tune Up Philly: American the Beautiful
Improvised Bucket Band jam session
Dan Trahey: Sacred Fanfare