The World Ensemble
Dear WE Subscriber, 
Here is your December issue of  The World Ensemble . You will learn about growing programs in Haiti and Mexico; a program in Hong Kong that works to bolster children’s spirits in difficult times; a program in Greece that is finding new ways to work with adults in refugee or homeless situations. You will celebrate with Ghetto Classics, in Nairobi, Kenya, as it marks its tenth anniversary. And you’ll find a discussion of language in El Sistema's movement that asks the question, “How should we talk about what we do?” 
This issue marks the end of  The World Ensemble’s  third year. We look forward to a new year of sharing your news, your stories, your challenges and successes with your colleagues in the Sistema movement around the world. And, as always, SEND US STUFF !
The WE Team 
Editorial: We Have Work to Do In How We Describe Our Work  
by Jeff M. Poulin, Founder & Managing Director, Creative Generation
We are experiencing a new kind of revolution in our time. This revolution is not centered solely in politics, technology, or the increasing globalization of our planet—but rather, it features the voices of the next generation, centered in the discourses of  all  elements of our collective, global future. 
For generations, young artists and creatives have been at the center of policy debates in town councils and community gatherings. More recently, international media has amplified voices such as those of Greta Thunberg, the inspiration for the “Fridays for Future” movement, and of the young people who led a “March for Our Lives” on Washington, D.C. about gun violence in the United States. Both are examples of youth artists and activists at the intersection of music and the arts, learning and community development.
Music Up! Putting Music at the Service of Community
by Cecilia Velásquez Moreno, Manager, Orquestando Armonía  
Orquestando Armonía (Orchestrating Harmony) was born in Boca del Río, Mexico, in July 2014, through an initiative of the municipal government. It is supported by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Boca del Río, which is composed of professional musicians who are teaching artists in the evenings. Ever since then, our goal has been to bring music lessons to the most vulnerable places in the area. 

Our first task was to find a school that could house the program. We were fortunate to find the Jose Vasconcelos Elementary School, which still shares its facilities with us. At this school, we have learned how intensely families value the education of their children. In 2010, Hurricane Karl brought a tremendous flood, causing many families to lose almost everything. Authorities declared that all the backpacks and school supplies were lost to the water – but in fact, this was not the case. Of the 300 students in the school, the backpacks of only two children got wet. The rest were rescued by the children and their families. The same thing happened in every school in the surrounding area. 
A New Partnership for El Sistema Hong Kong 
by Melissa Nino, ESHK Artistic Director and String Principal 
El Sistema Hong Kong, an organization based in both Tin Shui Wai and Western District, provides music education to over 50 children and senior citizens. Currently, we are happy to partner with the Hong Kong Children In Need Foundation (HKCIN) to launch a project called “IN School Program.” This program is designed to teach (in Cantonese) ensemble playing at Public Primary Schools, with a team of music school graduates who have been training since last August. For the first year, we are working with three primary schools. Weekly ensemble sessions are led by a team of six teachers, one supervisor, and several social workers. We aim to increase the number of both students and staff members in the second year. 
El Sistema Greece Widens Inclusion to Work With Adults 
by Sevi Matsakidou Communications Manager, El Sistema Greece
El Sistema Greece (ESG) was born in 2016 as a project that supports refugee communities through music. We teach violin, viola, cello, French horn, trumpet, percussion, choir and music theory to students aged 6-26, as well as music initiation for the youngest students. In addition to our El Sistema Greece Youth Orchestra, we now have small orchestras in each of the three ESG nucleos in Athens. We have frequent concerts in public spaces, often in the biggest cultural center in Athens, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center. 
This year, ESG began to work more with adults. We offered a two-day seminar for music educators, drama educators, teachers and any practitioner working with young children who would like to learn how to introduce them to music.  
Reflections on the Tenth Anniversary of Ghetto Classics, in Nairobi, Kenya 
by Elizabeth Njoroge, Founder and Director 
My journey creating The Art of Music Foundation began in 2003, when I came back from living in North America and Europe. I wanted to do my part in broadening the art music space in Kenya. I started in small, personal ways, such as holding recitals and publishing a small classical music magazine. I found a sponsor and benefactor who helped me to get on national radio and to run a three-year classical music festival, which helped classical music reach a whole new young and African audience. I do not have music technique know-how, so I worked very closely with people who did and who strongly shared my same passion and commitment to music. 
The idea for Ghetto Classics, our flagship programme, started through a chance encounter with the Catholic priest who ran the centre where my foundation is based, in Korogocho, an impoverished neighborhood of Nairobi. The priest asked me to start a music programme with some of his youth. 
BLUME Haiti: Building Leaders Using Music Education in Haiti    
  by Rachael Cohen, BLUME Haiti board member, Global Leader 2020 Cohort  
BLUME Haiti uses the extraordinary impact of music as a tool to empower musicians throughout Haiti. Responding to urgent needs after the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010, co-founder Janet Anthony, who has taught in the country since 1996, saw the opportunity for an organization that could facilitate getting instruments and supplies to Haiti to help with rebuilding efforts. Thus, with the help of her colleagues and students, BLUME Haiti was born. 
Fast-forwarding to 2019, BLUME Haiti has expanded far beyond teaching in summer music camps and shipping instruments to the country. In collaboration with Haitian and international partners, we support over 40 music programs located in eight of Haiti’s ten departments, serving approximately 5,000 children. These partnerships exist on a number of levels: we strengthen the professional development of Haitian teachers through pedagogical training, networking, and salary support; we offer scholarships for teachers and students to attend summer camps; and we expand access to short-term development opportunities locally and abroad, for select advanced musicians. We bring new resources to Haiti, and, above all, we help to give as many schools as possible the opportunity to grow into stable and impactful music programs within their communities. 
The Ambassadors' Exchange
The WE Ambassadors are a group of El Sistema student musicians who serve as representatives of their programs around the world.
by Axelle Miel, Philippines
Bidirectional Learning
I have recently started reading about the El Sistema philosophy of learning through ensembles, so I’ve been incorporating short and simple pieces into our weekly lessons so that the students can get a chance to play together. One challenge I have faced with this integration is having musicians of different levels of advancement work together on a single piece; some students get impatient while others struggle to keep up. For this, I’ve learned to pair students together so that they can learn from each other and assume a sense of responsibility for their playing. 
By Aurian White, New Zealand 
Throughout November, we have been in full swing with our weekly sessions, and we are learning so much. Sistema Whangarei has started up a whanau (family) orchestra. There are about ten family members that the older Sistema students are now teaching to play the instruments, encouraging adults to take up the joy of music.  
Thank you for reading! 

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

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