August 2017

The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.

Being a Servant and an Artist


The National Take a Stand Festival has ended, and 101 students are returning home to over 25 states, each with an intimate and personal experience. Here is the experience of just one of those 101.

National Take a Stand Festival & Symposium


I remember that the first Take a Stand Symposium in 2012 was shaped by questions such as “How should we go about starting an El Sistema program?” and “What outcomes should we evaluate, and how?” This year’s symposium, which included YOLA students as participants, was framed by very different questions, signaling our relative maturity as a field.



On Saturday night, July 22, there were 101 young musicians on the stage of the Walt Disney Concert Hall: the first-ever national Sistema orchestra of the United States.

One hundred and one – there is something intensely human about that number. It suggests that the organizers set out to recruit a hundred student musicians – but then there was that one more vivid, luminous youngster they couldn’t leave out.


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