Take a Stand Symposium Highlights, January 30
January 31, 2012
As a YOLA Ambassador, we started the day with a session led by Eric Booth. Getting teachers together and communicating stories and experiences was a missing aspect in the Sistema movement, he felt, and this opening session was about collaborating and networking and getting to know one another through those stories and experiences as well as fun ice-breaker activities. During the session, I appreciated a comment from Dan Berkowitz of YOLA that seemed to sum up how to keep things fresh, engaged and full of high expectations. He feels that a constant state of crisis is vital and spontaneous and frequent performance are commonplace and necessary. I love the idea of keeping a state of crisis, in the positive sense, and keeping it positive to help nurture the young musicians we are encouraging.
We met the Abreu Fellows for this year, and some points made through their presentation include:
- There are roughly 54 El Sistema sites in the US that are healthy
- 71 percent are in schools, 26 percent in community centers, 3 percent in churches
- Most programs are ensemble focused
- Class management and funding seem two biggest challenges
- Four pillars of Sistema are youth development, music, access, and community development
- Issue of documentation, assessment and evaluation came up at end and came up in regional discussions after Abreu presentation
- Regional discussions mainly shared ideas on collaborating, creating regional performances and professional development opportunities, and ways to share resources
The day finished with a rehearsal and performance of the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and YOLA Orchestra in concert. The Adagietto (fourth movement) of Mahler’s 5th performed by the SBSO was simply stunning as well as the community feeling, all packed in to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, to hear kids making incredible music.