After two transformational years as a Fellow at CMW, I moved to Boston in 2010 to participate in the Sistema Fellows Program at the New England Conservatory. During that inspiring year, I learned about the many aspects of how to create and manage an El Sistema-inspired program in the US. In the spring of 2011, I spent five weeks in Venezuela traveling to different parts of the country, observing and teaching in the music programs there. I returned to the U.S. inspired to share the experience of El Sistema with families in Providence.
Thanks to support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, I was able to return to CMW last season to spend time preparing to launch the new program that I had been dreaming about creating. I had the opportunity to put into practice some specific ideas for music education that I gathered in Venezuela with a class of CMW beginners. I also enjoyed my work with CMW's Green Magic Orchestra and Phase II.
On September 10, CMW will launch a daily string orchestra program inspired by El Sistema. We are excited to be working with our partner in the neighborhood, the John Hope Settlement House. In combination with JHSH's Out of School Time Program, students in the orchestra will be provided with private lessons, snacks, homework help, mentors from Brown University, arts and crafts activities, and, of course, daily orchestra rehearsals. We’ll be starting out with a group of 25 first graders, including children from CMW's waiting list, children from JHSH, and children who we are recruiting to join the program.
Last week, violinist Lisa Barksdale and I had a chance to meet some of the families who will be entering the program at an information session hosted by JHSH. At the session, I shared with families this short video of people talking about El Sistema. The video features music performed by youth orchestras in Venezuela.
Do you know someone who is the parent of an eligible first grader? We are looking specifically for children who have the most to gain from this special opportunity to participate in a free daily after-school program. Please invite them to contact me via the CMW office.
-Adrienne Taylor, Program Director