The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.
News & Resources
ArtPlace America and Welcoming America have released a report exploring how arts and cultural practitioners have long been and may increasingly be partners in helping to achieve community development goals: Bridging Divides, Creating Community: Arts, Culture, and Immigration. ArtPlace America recently completed its ten-year mission as a leading funder of creative placemaking in the U.S., and they are publishing their learning in a series of reports. This report is the eighth in their series of cross-sector field scans, examining arts and culture as “a platform that helps immigration policy expand beyond a singular focus on border security to one that embraces a broader national vision of inclusive economic development, community connection and cohesion, and welcoming communities in which all people can thrive.”
National Guild for Community Arts Education Offers Online Series on Community Arts Learning Beyond the Pandemic
The National Guild for Community Arts Education in the U.S. is offering a three-month series that examines how arts organizations are responding to prevalent social inequities stemming from the pandemic. Titled “Rootwork | Grounding Community Arts Education Beyond the Pandemic,” the gathering will feature guest speakers and programs from across the U.S. Participants will join discussions and workshops on adapting to the necessary programmatic changes needed to best serve marginalized communities during and beyond periods of crisis. This series takes place from December 2, 2020 – February 24, 2021, and registration is open now. You can register for the entire series, or for individual sessions. Read session descriptions and register here.
Contribute to the ABLE Assembly, Focusing on Intersectionality, Disability, and Arts Education—Deadline 12.15.2020
Do you have something to share about working with students with disabilities? If so, consider proposing a session (20-minute pre-recorded video, with guidance provided by the conference leaders) for the ABLE Assembly: Arts Better the Lives of Everyone, Digital Conference, April 10–11, 2021. This year’s theme is Intersectionality, Disability, and Arts Education. Since the music for social change movement prioritizes the value of inclusion, it would be great for us to be leading contributors to this global field. The deadline for proposals is December 15; learn more and consider submitting one here.
The International School of Music, Languages and Polytechnic Studies: A Longtime Dream Becomes Reality
Joseph Wasswa, Founder and CEO, IMLS
Music can unite the world, produce unity and harmony in the community, and offer social and financial assurance. Having grown up humbly myself, I began dreaming in 2011 of starting an academic institution and cultural center for the young generation in my home area of Masaka, Uganda. That dream became the International School of Music, Languages and Polytechnic Studies (IMLS), located in the city of Masaka, near Lake Victoria.
Eduardo Méndez, Executive Director, Fundamusical
As the new school year takes off, we think it is a good moment to reach out to our friends in Sistema-inspired projects around the world, to share our experiences in teaching and caring for our kids throughout the months of quarantine.
Kendall Grady, Global Leaders Program 2020 Cohort
Rapa Nui, the most isolated inhabited place on earth, is the birthplace of the Rapanui people, who call their island “the navel of the world.” With deep, ancient roots, the island attempts to balance its past—including difficult recent memories of colonization in the 1860s—with its prosperous growth in the Western context. In this unique setting, music has played a pivotal role in building collaboration and coexistence between multiple cultures and lifestyles. In my opinion, no organization has embodied that balance more than the Toki School of Music, which celebrates its people’s authenticity in an increasingly modern world.
The European Parliament Celebrates the Rights of the Child on November 20, in Partnership with Sistema Europe and the Alliance for Childhood European Network Group
The Board of Sistema Europe invites its European Association and Network members to join in celebrating World Children’s Day on November 20. Sistema Europe has been invited by the Alliance for Childhood European Network Group to participate in an online celebration of the rights of the child, streaming live on Friday, November 20, from 16:10–17:00 CET. Colleagues in all countries are invited to attend the live stream, available at this Zoom link, and details will be published on www.sistemaeurope.org in due course.
Axelle Miel, Ambassadors Program Leader (Philippines)
Aside from working together on projects and publishing updates about their respective Sistema programs, Ambassadors are given the opportunity to receive various forms of enrichment throughout the year. This month, they met with Tricia Tunstall, who cofounded The Ensemble and The World Ensemble newsletters and authored the seminal book Playing for Their Lives: The Global El Sistema Movement for Social Change Through Music.
Daniel Mora-Brito, Special Advisor, External Relations and Communications Division, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
One of El Sistema’s most striking comparative advantages is its ability to bridge gaps across communities. The replication of this model in multiple geographies has repeatedly demonstrated the uniting and transformative power of music and its value as a cornerstone for social integration and cohesion. The knock-on effects of COVID-19 could undermine El Sistema’s positive impact, presenting its advocates and practitioners with great challenges. However, the pandemic also presents opportunities to rethink the tenets of arts education and its use as a vehicle for social change, wellbeing, and inclusion. How can El Sistema survive the current global crisis and, more importantly, shed light on how to help rebuild broken and diminished societies? What can be done to ensure that the model adapts to and thrives in these new circumstances and becomes part of critical policy conversation on sustainable development—and, even more important, the realm of public health?
Kathryn Cobbler, Teaching Artist, OrKidstra, Ottawa, Ontario; Jacquie McNulty, Site Manager, Youth Orchestra of Northern Alberta (YONA) – Sistema, Edmonton; Karma Tomm, Director, Sistema Kingston, Ontario
As El Sistema-inspired programs, we value community. Over the years, programs of various shapes and sizes have sprung up across Canada, laying down roots in priority communities. Although each program is unique in how it strives to support the students and families it serves, we are united as El Sistema-inspired programs in our shared belief in the transformative power of music. We are also bound together in confronting issues that concern all Canadians—issues of income inequality, racism, and systemic oppression, to name a few.