The World Ensemble
Dear Subscriber,

This October World Ensemble is a testament to the many ways music for social change organizations can grow with their communities. Mozambique’s Minister of Culture and Tourism (a former El Sistema teacher and program founder) advocates for more extensive government support; a GLP alum examines what happens when programs solely rely on government funding. ITAC’s founder shares takeaways from the first-ever virtual ITAC, sharing best practices applicable to any form of online programming. An organization in Uganda overcomes adversity to provide hope to its community, and the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra takes a creative approach to teacher development. 

This issue also reminds us to center youth voices. El Sistema Greece shares the inspirational story of its Young Leaders Program, forced to go virtual just after starting up. And after months of reading about our young Ambassadors living around the world, you’ll have a chance to get to know them a bit better with their “Hometown Stories” video. Take the five minutes to listen to their perspectives, told in their own voices.

Now and always, please send us stories, program experiments, and anything that might strengthen and grow the field.

Thanks for reading,

The WE Team

Editorial: Government Support is Essential, Especially Right Now

By Eldevina Materula, Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Mozambique; Founder of Xiquitsi Orchestra, Mozambique
The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected many economic sectors across the world—none more so than the cultural and creative industries. Cultural heritage infrastructures, museums, libraries, galleries, cinemas, and arts education institutions have been locked down. Shows, exhibitions, fairs, cultural tourism, and international exchange opportunities for artists have been canceled. Millions of artists have lost their jobs, and people everywhere have lost access to cultural life. Less visible but equally important are the millions more whose jobs depend on the work of artists.

Saved by Music Foundation: Restoring Hope and Building Trust

By Kyewalyanga Fredrick, Founder/Director, Saved by Music Foundation
Saved by Music Foundation is a community-based non-governmental organization located in Mbale, a city in eastern Uganda. As a former street child who was saved from the streets by music, I started the organization in 2009. Children face many challenges in our community—extreme poverty, child abuse, drug abuse, child pregnancies and marriages, lack of access to education and housing, and so much more. As a result, many children become hopeless. It is easy to fall victim to the streets, where many start using drugs or join criminal gangs, putting their lives on the line while becoming dangers to the community. It was in these circumstances that I decided to do something to help restore hope among children and youth like me.

Shaping Curricula to Overcome Resource Scarcity

By Esteban Alvarez, Alumnus, Global Leaders Program; Steinway Artist
The first time I smelled tear gas, it was a January morning around 10:00 a.m. I was sitting in the car alongside Franco Toro Contreras, the Music Director at Enrique Soro Music School in Quilicura, Chile. Franco picked me up every morning from Monday through Friday at the “Zona Cero” in Santiago, ten miles from the school. Against a backdrop of political and economic upheaval, we drove every morning through the smell of tear gas that had been deployed against protesters the previous night. Despite this troubled socio-political situation—and the fact that I was teaching summer classes—I noticed that attendance never wavered throughout my time at the school.

Ceding the Floor to Young People in Crisis Times

By Francis Gagliardi, Teacher, Facilitator, and Content Design, Young Leaders Program, El Sistema Greece
Have you ever wondered what the future will be like? Will future leaders be more aware and empathetic? At El Sistema Greece (ESG), such questions never cease to concern us. How do we help our young people become the leaders they’re capable of being?

Though Greece is struggling to recover from an economic crisis, we have welcomed thousands of refugees and migrants. They include thousands of children left in limbo, lacking inspiration and dreams. As a community institution, our superpower is music; El Sistema Greece provides free music education for all children and young people in Greece, no matter their origin, nationality, or religion.

South Korea Hosts a Virtual Success: the Fifth International Teaching Artist Conference

By Eric Booth, Founder, ITAC Collaborative
Every once in a while, you can feel the future breaking through the crust of the present. That’s what ITAC5 felt like—the Fifth International Teaching Artist Conference, designed in and led by South Korea. The host was KACES (Korea Arts & Culture Education Service), the same government agency that runs the Korean El Sistema program The Orchestra of Dream, which is one of the world’s largest national El Sistema programs outside of Latin America.

Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra: Opening Global Doors for Local Teacher Development

By Hazel Ross, violinist, teaching artist, education consultant and coach
In July 2020, I was scheduled to deliver workshops for the local teachers of the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra (ABYSO), the first youth symphony orchestra in the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean. The global lockdown as a result of COVID-19 abruptly put an end to work in person, and as the world started to embrace principles of working remotely, I began to think about whether I could turn this barrier into an opportunity: if I could demonstrate that teacher development does not necessarily need intervention in person, this could become a more sustainable model for ABYSO and for other similar organizations around the world. Over the following weeks, I developed a ten-week remote teacher development program, aimed at empowering local teachers to provide an inspiring musical education for children within their own community.

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

Ambassadors Culture Video: Hometown Stories

This month, the Ambassadors decided to take a break from reporting about their programs to share stories about the places they call home. Enjoy this five-minute compilation of our experiences around the world!

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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