The World Ensemble
Dear World Ensemble Subscriber,
This issue of The World Ensemble is the second to come from the new home of both The World Ensemble and The Ensemble newsletters—the  Longy School of Music of Bard College .
The issue leads off with some food for thought from a leader of Sistema Europe. You will also learn about a novel collaboration between youth music programs in Norway and South Africa, and about an orchestral residency in Govanhill, Scotland. We share news about a Sistema program in Goa, India; another in El Paso, Texas; and a small Mexican town that hosts a big music festival. And our student Ambassadors share their news as well.
Send us your news, your questions, your ideas. We would like to share them with the global field. Is there a particular feature of your program you are proud of and want others to know about?—let us know.  SEND US STUFF !

Best wishes,
The WE Team
When the Arrows are Words,
Best to Just Let Them In 
By  Marshall Marcus 
President and Founder, Sistema Europe 
It’s that moment that threatens to undo many of us. I had just finished giving a Sistema presentation to the Alliance for Childhood at the European Parliament. It had seemed to go pretty well. And then came the first question; an apparently well-intentioned and gentle lady from Finland looked me straight in the eye, and asked in a low, steely voice,  “What do you think about the criticisms of El Sistema? ”  

The fact is that most of us don’t react well to criticism. We feel attacked. And so we deflect, we avoid, we crumple, or—most often—we fight back. And it happens more quickly than you might imagine: psychologists tell us that our reaction to perceived hostile questioning shows up in our bodies way before the great lumbering frontal cortex that characterizes humanity’s most profound utterances has even started to slowly whir into action. Before you even begin the response, your body has probably already shown its own answer. 
Child's Play (India) Foundation Enters the Double Digits
by Dr. Luis Dias
Founder and Director  
The Child’s Play (India) Foundation is an organization that seeks to instill positive values and provide social empowerment to India’s disadvantaged children, through the teaching of classical music at the highest possible standards. We are celebrating our 10th year of working with children in Goa, a state in western India. 
Child’s Play is unusual among Sistema programs in that it was founded by a musician who is also a doctor! I am a trained obstetrician, gynecologist and general practitioner, but music has been my lifelong passion. I have also been acutely aware from a young age of the stark socio-economic disparity and injustice around me. 
Cultural Exchange as a Vehicle for Youth Development:
About the Exchange between the Field Band Foundation, South Africa and the Norwegian Band Federation, Norway
By Anja Poulsen
PULSE 7,The Field Band Foundation, Johannesburg, South Africa; Cohort Member, Global Leaders Program

In 2001, the South African Field Band Foundation (FBF) and the Norwegian Band Federation (NMF) joined forces to create an exchange program that shares knowledge, promotes cultural exchange, and, as is now evident, creates career pathways. Each year, 4-5 participants are chosen based on their ability to be positive role models, to learn and share their knowledge, and to make an impact in both communities. This now 18 year-old program provides a unique opportunity for professional exchange and has resulted in a rich cross-pollination between the FBF and the NMF. 
In Norway, the exchange participants work closely together with the NMF to achieve its core mission to make wind bands a more popular and visible spare-time activity for all Norwegian people. One way the participants support this mission is through helping to improve and integrate music programs in inner-city, low-income schools—while also planning Summer PULSE and Winter PULSE band camps. These two camps increase the accessibility of the NMF to kids that have not participated in the band program before. 
The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra Goes to Govanhill 
by Kirsty Yanik
Communications and Marketing Manager, Sistema Scotland 

In autumn 2019, a collaboration between Sistema Scotland, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and Holyrood Secondary School brought about a unique residency. For a few days in early October, the BBC SSO, Scotland’s oldest orchestra, decamped from their prestigious base of operations at the City Halls in Glasgow to a school in Govanhill, a neighborhood on the south side of the city. This was not the BBC SSO’s first community-based residency; however, it was one of its largest ones, with over 80 musicians participating over the four days. 

Govanhill is one of the most densely populated communities in Scotland and faces a significant range of economic, social and environmental challenges. Life expectancy is lower than the national average and instances of violent crime are significantly higher. It is recognized as one of Scotland’s most disadvantaged communities. Yet it is also a vibrant, exciting, and highly diverse area; recent surveys indicate that over 52 nationalities live in the community, speaking over 30 different languages. Sistema Scotland has worked in Govanhill since 2013, when the charity opened Big Noise Govanhill (the second of four Big Noise centers across Scotland).  

Big Noise Govanhill works with 1,200 children across Govanhill, from babies up to children in their second year of secondary school. The centre works in close partnership with Govanhill’s Holyrood Secondary School, the largest school in Scotland (with over 2,000 students), to deliver the Big Noise program for older participants and has strong links with the school’s own music department.  
A Mexican Village Hosts an International Music Festival
By Felix Alanis
Naolinco International Music Festival Organizing Committee; Cohort Member, Global Leaders Program
The Naolinco International Music Festival ( Festival Internacional de Música Naolinco ) is an annual summer music festival that takes place in the municipality of Naolinco, Veracruz, Mexico. The motto of the festival roughly translates to “the project that will gather all.” This motto expresses the idea that music can be a factor in bringing people together in order to work towards a common goal. The festival has become a project that goes beyond music making—it is a project for social change, since it gives people an opportunity to be united around a music project that now the community has embraced as its own. 

Naolinco is a town in the mountains of the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range in the central Veracruz region. Naolinco was established as a town almost 500 years ago; indigenous peoples were settled in the area long before that, prior to Spanish colonization. With a current population of approximately 19,000, Naolinco preserves a great part of its original colonial architecture and stone-based streets and alleys.  
Rotating Student Leadership Roles at Tocando 
  by Claudia Saldaña, Ph.D., and Beverley Argus-Calvo, Ph.D. 
  College of Education, The University of Texas at El Paso 

Widening participation is one of the goals of Tocando , an El-Sistema inspired program in the U.S/Mexico border city of El Paso, Texas. Students attend the after-school music program Monday through Thursday to receive tutoring, musicianship, and strings instruction. One of Tocando ’s distinctive features is the emphasis on developing students’ sense of agency and ownership by giving them rotating job-based assignments. I had the opportunity to observe this process in my role as a researcher for my dissertation study. 
Tocando  teaching artists and staff felt that students could develop a sense of agency through leadership practices by carrying out job-based assignments during daily program activities. The teaching artists’ intention was to develop students’ sense of ownership through taking on roles that involved responsibilities and organization skills. The Tocando staff identified 16 jobs based on  Tocando’s  core values of teamwork, leadership, respect, self-confidence, and communication. These jobs were rotated among students on a weekly basis, allowing students to explore a variety of job positions—for example, composer, conductor, equipment manager, line leader, posture supervisor, rhythm creator, librarian, snack manager, and attendance keeper. 
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 Matthew Jones, United Kingdom
As the National Orchestra For All (NOFA) prepares for its upcoming Winter Course, it also looks forward to welcoming many beginner instrumentalists in this year's edition of "Musical Chairs!" 

Musical Chairs gives complete beginners the opportunity to play some of NOFA's favorite tunes from the previous season in a huge orchestra, joined by current NOFA members, tutors, and alumni. The event is a key fundraising event in NOFA's calendar. 
by Linet Othieno, Kenya
In October, Ghetto Classics performed at one of the most visited sites in Kenya: the Karura Forest. The orchestra played a few pop and classical pieces. The event was run by the Friends of Karura, who were celebrating ten years of rehabilitation and saving the forest from being destroyed by climate change and the destructive activities of nearby settlers.

By  Aurian White, New Zealand 
Sistema students attended a conservation day at the local gardens and performed in unique places, including a mine tunnel and by a stream. Students shared their music with visitors of the garden and the music was recorded so that it could be played for other visitors in one of the old mine tunnels. The program also started a whanau (family) orchestra, in which older students teach adults how to play an instrument. I was able to teach someone how to play the cello last week, and my mum learnt how to play the violin. The adult lessons take part every Thursday. After the first few lessons, students meet with their coordinators to see what they can do better, and what has been learned from the experience. 
Thank you for reading! 

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

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