In 1975, Jose Antonio Abreu started pulling off children from the streets of Caracas and enrolled them in music education programs, starting a ‘system’ of music education to invigorate the minds, hearts, and souls of the Venezuelan youth. Thus, El Sistema was born. Over 30 years later with nearly 500,000 children worldwide enrolled in affiliated programs, and the rest, as they say is history.
Creating each program is a matter of negotiating the needs of the local populace with the founding spirit of the original El Sistema. And most programs are doing a fantastic job. But what about the Philippines? This program is in its infancy. What must we do different here? These are questions that Ang Misyon, the Philippines’ El Sistema orchestra must deal with in the coming months. Founded in August of 2012, this Filipino affiliate is based in the heart of the National Capital Region in Mandaluyong City. Every Wednesday and Saturday, children from all over the Philippines’ thousands of islands come to learn, listen, and play.
From what I’ve seen, in just a year, a lot of progress has been made. These children are serious about learning their craft (more serious than I was at their ages), and they are doing it without all the luxuries I had. I studied with members of the America’s finest military bands and ensembles but I often found myself getting lazy and apathetic. These kids want to soak it all in. Everyday they’re willing to learn something new. Every Saturday, I go to an orchestra of eager beavers ready to commit some of the finest works in the classical repertoire to their memory.<< Older Entries
Paul Fontelo '13