The World Ensemble
Dear Subscriber,

Solidarity and ingenuity continue to drive teaching artists across the globe. In this August World Ensembleyou'll find exceptional examples of both: a program in Africa brings international encouragement to students’ doorsteps; Afghanistan’s preeminent music for social change program helps to revive its deep artistic roots; a teaching artist in Chile celebrates the country's national folk legacy, centering his students’ music learning in their shared heritage. You will also read about a U.S. program that reconsidered how it communicates with refugee families and a Danish program that encourages its students to mentor one another. Plus, an editorial from the founder of Musicians Without Borders asks that impossible question: “What does this pandemic mean for our work if we are literally prevented from bringing people together with music?”

Each of these stories offers vital takeaways for program leaders in any corner of the world. Please read and share widely. And as always, send us story ideas, program experiments, anything that might be generous to your colleagues around the world. Now more than ever, we must share with each other.

In solidarity,

The WE Team

Editorial: Music, Standing Still

By Laura Hassler, Founder and Director, Musicians Without Borders
A guest editorial during a global pandemic. What to write, what to say?

For every person and every organization dedicated to bringing people together with music: what does this pandemic mean for our work if we are literally prevented from bringing people together with music?

Concert at Your Door: Moments of Solidarity between Eswatini Students and Korean Musicians during Lockdown

By Danielle Lee, Managing Director, Africa Ntjilo Empowerment
The lingering pandemic has reminded us how capable we are of influencing each other’s lives. We have seen that without kindness, love, and patience, we can never achieve true justice and unity in our global society. In these past months of solitude, communities are naturally turning to music as a universal language, sending love, hope, and empathy to people all over the world. In the small, landlocked southern African country of Eswatini, we have witnessed miraculous moments of solidarity between musicians in South Korea and Eswatini through our program, Africa Ntjilo Empowerment.

Raising a New Generation of Musicians in Afghanistan

By Janielle Beh and Bilal Asify, Piano Faculty, Afghanistan National Institute of Music
Afghanistan, a land that weaves a vibrant tapestry of cultures and peoples, continues to undergo conflict even after decades of unrest. Its people keenly feel the heartaches of incalculable loss but continue to persevere. Through this war-weary land, a river of cultural, musical, and artistic heritage flows from the civilizations of the Persia-Central Asia region and the Indian subcontinent. That river was forced to become subterranean in the late 20th century, when the country was embroiled in civil war, but it is now rising to the surface once more.

Lessons in Listening

By Yuki Numata Resnick, Cofounder and Executive Director, Buffalo String Works
Buffalo Public School #45 is the go-to public school for newly arrived refugees in Buffalo, NY. Speaking dozens of different languages, many of the school's students are displaced from countries across the world. As we sat down in front of them, we introduced ourselves, our instruments, and the music we were about to play. Our audience was quiet, even distant. But as we placed our bows on our strings and the first notes emerged, everything changed.

Musicaustral Nurtures a Modern Latin Folk Music Community

By Jacob Kelberman, adjunct professor at Temple University and 2020 GLP Cohort Member

The story of Latin American folk music in 20th century Chile illustrates how artists reflect and impact societies. One of the most important figures of this period was Violeta Parra (1917-67), a visionary artist and activist known as the "Mother of Latin American Folk.” Parra led the Nueva Canción Chilena, a revival of Chilean folk music and traditions. Her life and work inspired generations of musicians who gave voice to social and political movements throughout Latin America.

Parra’s passion gave renewed prominence to Chilean-centered music learning, inspiring many Chilean composers to bring their folk heritage into the foreground of their teaching. One of these was Chilean composer and percussionist Daniel Emden, founder of Camp Musicaustral in Frutillar, Chile.

Mentorship and Peer Collaboration at MusikSak

By Gabriella and Rebecca de Carvalho e Silva Fuglsig, Cofounders, MusicSak
MusikSak is a socially motivated string orchestra program based in Aarhus, Denmark. Both cellists, we founded the program in early 2015 after visiting El Sistema in Venezuela in 2013 and volunteering in two different programs (Oficina dos Sonhos and Atitude Cooperação) in Natal, Brazil in 2014.

The Ambassadors' Exchange
The WE Ambassadors are a group of El Sistema student musicians who serve as representatives of their programs around the world.

Pedro Ramos, Harmony Project (California, U.S.A.)
This summer has left me feeling both idle and worried about the future. Luckily, staying musically engaged has helped me remain in the moment. I have decided to take advantage of the extra time to focus on the fundamentals of the French horn. Unfortunately, focusing on fundamentals has left little opportunity to create music and has influenced a great deal of depression. I decided to pick up the ukulele to distract myself from my main instrument. In addition to being able to play different styles of music, the rush of learning a new instrument has helped bring joy to my music-making. I’m very excited to expand the vocabulary of my musical language.

The Ensemble
Tricia Tunstall

Patrick Scafidi

Dr. Ryan Welsh

Tricia Tunstall
Eric Booth
Dr. Chrissie D’Alexander
Elsje Kibler-Vermaas
Jacquie McNulty
Rey Ramirez
Monique Van Willingh

Caroline Campos
Zoe Kumagai
Gabrielle Molina
Thank you for reading! 

Be on the lookout for additional resources and news later this month.

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