“Serenading the audience with songs, playing the drums, and performing a small selection of orchestral music, the children of the Union City Music Project recently showed the crowd at the annual benefit concert all they had been learning,” writes Maya Chung in Thursday’s NJ Spotlight (Montclair, N.J.). The free afterschool music program in Union City, New Jersey, is aimed at “Union City’s at-risk children, from ages four to ten…. The program currently serves six schools in Union City. ‘A program like this helps students become well-rounded, multidimensional people, …’ said David Bernard, musical director of the Park Avenue Symphony Orchestra in New York City.… The [Union City] project provides children with free instruments and 24 hours of musical instruction per month, teaching them the violin, cello, percussion and giving them voice lessons. ‘It’s extremely beneficial in the sense that it teaches them teamwork, respect, discipline, and mental and emotional stamina and strength,’ said the program’s music director, Samuel Marchan…. ‘There is no Boys and Girls Club or YMCA. The parents who are working can’t afford babysitters,’ [project founder Melina] Garcia said…. ‘I want to see this program in every city,’ said Garcia.” The Summer 2013 issue of Symphony magazine reports on multiple U.S.-based El Sistema programs, including the Union City Music Project.
Posted November 22, 2013