IMPS recap

This month, CMW hosted our second Institute for Musicianship and Public Service, made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. IMPS, as we have affectionately nicknamed it, is a great opportunity to share our model with other young musicians interested in the links between music and social justice, and to build a network of like-minded artists.

This fall's Institute focused on string quartets which are already engaged in the early stages of neighborhood residencies. Members of Music Haven, from New Haven, and the Boston Public Quartet joined us, along with representatives of other music and arts programs.

The four-day Institute included seminars, observation of CMW activities, and collaborations with CMW students. The Institute culminated with two concerts featuring the CMW Players and guest musicians.

-Chloe Kline, CMW staff

Introductions in CMW's 3rd floor space

Rehearsal at the Carriage House

Seminar: Integrating social justice issues into the music curriculum

Dinner with Phase II

Discussing Bertold Brecht’s “A Bed for the Night”

Development brunch at the JCB Library

Full house to hear Vivaldi, Carter, and Elgar

Wrap up brunch hosted by Paula and Sandor

More photos by Jori in CMW's Flickr account.

An update from Los Angeles

A lot has happened since the end of my fellowship at CMW [in June 2008]. To start with, Mark and I spent seven months traveling throughout the Netherlands, little bits of Germany, England, Israel, and Norway. During this time, we attended three artist residencies, participated in a sound art exhibition, performed on a major new music festival, and attended a ton of concerts and museums.

Upon arriving back to Los Angeles (and reality) this summer, I was fortunate enough to sub for a friend at Harmony Project, a non-profit music education program with a similar mission statement to CMW's. At the end of the summer, Harmony Project decided to keep me on board, and I am now in my sixth month teaching for them. I cannot stress how wonderful the experience has been. In October, our kids were given the opportunity to play at the Hollywood Bowl under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel, a "graduate" of Venezuela's El Sistema and the new conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. It was so exhilarating to play with my students in front of 18,000 people on such a monumental day. Below is a snapshot of me and some students in the orchestra during the performance. 


I reflect on my fellowship at CMW often and am thankfully currently involved in an organization that is filled with people who appreciate and also want to learn from the experience I received in Providence. I'm looking forward to continuing my life-long CMW ambassadorship! 

-Laura Cetilia (formerly Thomas-Merino)

Celebration of Debbie Wyatt

On Sunday, November 8, the West End Community Center held a celebratory luncheon to honor the work of Debbie Wyatt, their director for over a dozen years, now retired for health reasons. Debbie is a longtime friend of CMW. She welcomed Sebastian and his dream of bringing music education to the neighborhood. She later served on our Board of Directors and supported CMW every step of the way. 

The CMW Phase III trio of Josh, Paul, and Natasha played as things got started and then performed some special pieces for Debbie, as did Alana, daughter of Erika who works at the West End Community Center. Mayor Cicilline and Councilpersons Lombardi and Young were there to sing her praises, as was Sebastian and the rest of our CMW contingent. The Mayor had his picture taken with the CMW students and told us he wanted to make the photo into his Holiday card and ask folks to send donations to CMW. Go Mayor!


A CMW table was graced by present and former CMW board members and program parents (Siobhan, Jacque, Karen, Liz, Carol, and Vithianny.


It is Debbie who says, “Just because kids grow up in disadvantaged circumstances doesn’t mean they can’t be citizens of the world!”

-Liz Hollander, CMW Board President

Sebastian at El Sistema USA

On Monday last week, Adrienne and I joined Sebastian at the New England Conservatory of Music where he had been invited to address the newly formed Abreu Fellows Program–10 young professionals who are spending one year at NEC with the goal of learning how to transfer Venezuela's "music education miracle" to communities in the United States, hopefully building a national network.

Sebastian, introduced to the Fellows by El Sistema USA Director Mark Churchill as "one of the great pioneers in the field," shared some of his ideas about reciprocal relationships and "meaning-making" through music. He also shared CMW's Anthem video with them.

One of the Abreu Fellows mentioned Sebastian's visit on the blog that she is using to track her year-long experience:

Sebastian Ruth, who, like Yo-Yo [Ma], has preserved his identity as a performing artist within his educational project, sees himself as part of a vast spiderweb.
His institutional links and musical relationships are reciprocal and
interwoven. There is something so beautiful about the spiderweb and its
potential for growth.

We learned that the Abreu Fellows (named for Dr. Jose Antonio Abreu, El Sistema's founder) have a very full schedule between October and June, including internships at Boston area non profits, seminars with guest presenters such as Ben Cameron, Ben Zander, and Yo-Yo Ma, and a winter trip to Venezuela to see El Sistema in action. If possible, we hope to have them down to Providence to check out CMW.

-Heath Marlow, CMW staff

Phase III around town

Coach Chloe filling in for Alexis (sidelined with the flu) at a concert in Bristol

Phase III with CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien and Providence Mayor David Cicilline at the Lights On After School event in Providence