The following is a statement from the El Sistema USA President, Katie Wyatt. El Sistema Indianapolis stands with those who have experienced oppression and injustice.
"We mourn with the many families across America who have suffered incredible losses due to over-policing, racial profiling, and systemic oppression. While the most recent death of George Floyd is the focal point of the current news cycle, it is a system of institutionalized oppression and repressive policing tactics that impact many of our member organizations and families. We recognize and grieve these circumstances, and are committed to working to change them."
The following is a quote from the founder of the El Sistema movement, Jose Abreu:
(El Sistema is) “No longer putting society at the service of art, and much less at the services of monopolies of the elite, but instead art at the service of society, at the service of the weakest, at the service of the children, at the service of the sick, at the service of the vulnerable, and at the service of all those who cry for vindication through the spirit of their human condition and the raising up of their dignity."
Marian University has committed to substantial and long-term support for an El Sistema Indianapolis program at Marian over the next few years! Details of this have not yet been worked out, but it seems we have achieved solid financial and administrative footing for El Sistema to move forward in the city. Thank you Marian University, and Professor Kathy Spangler for facilitating this!
El Sistema Indy pilot program ready to go, but delayed.
As everyone knows by now, IPS schools are closed at least through May 1, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so El Sistema Indianapolis' pilot project at IPS 87 will be delayed.
The good news is that we received an overwhelming response from parents and students at school 87, with many more families wanting to participate than we could accommodate this time around. IPS music teacher Carter Bell had put together a curriculum (for 1st-5th graders) and Professor Kathy Spangler at Marian University had arranged for Marian students to help with instruction, which was to be with ukuleles. Several other donors stepped forward to allow us to buy more instruments and expand the number of students.
The program was to have run on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school from April 7 to May 19, with a final performance to be held at Marian University on May 21. Obviously we can no longer follow that schedule, and we are "waiting to see" when we can reschedule the pilot program.
We will post updates here when they are available.
Meanwhile, everyone stay home, stay safe and stay healthy!
A generous donation from the Broad Ripple Kiwanis (with a special boost from board member Helen Carroll), plus contributions from numerous other friends and supporters of El Sistema, permits us to move forward with the launch of a pilot program of El Sistema-inspired music education this spring. The pilot program will be after school group ukulele lessons at IPS School 87, led by Carter Bell, music teacher at 87, and assisted by Professor Kathy Spangler and her students at Marian University.
A group of educators and musicians in Indianapolis has come together to launch a pilot program of free ensemble music education for children in the city. The inspiration for this program is "El Sistema," begun by Jose Abreu in Venezuela in 1975 and eventually spreading worldwide. In the United States, El Sistema USA 's mission is "to effect social change through music for children with the fewest resources and the greatest need." El Sistema Indianapolis is a member of El Sistema USA.
While El Sistema programs take varied forms in their different locations, they generally provide free instruments and ensemble instruction to students in an "immersion" program that meets 4-5 days a week after school. The goal is to provide the students a sense of community, empowerment, accomplishment and pride, rather than strictly musical skills.
In Indianapolis, we are planning a pilot program for about 20 students at IPS School 87 (on Indiana Avenue) and in the neighborhood, teaching them ukulele (which is relatively easy to learn and inexpensive, and a gateway to other string instruments). The program will meet four times a week after school for twelve weeks. El Sistema Indianapolis is on Facebook and is affiliated with an arts non-profit organization called "Fractured Atlas" through which El Sistema Indianapolis is raising tax-deductible contributions to launch the pilot program.
Donations can be made here.