In L.A., an orchestra succeeds by focusing on Latino families

Posted on: May 28, 2014

“Outside the concert hall at Occidental College, in Los Angeles’ Eagle Rock neighborhood, children are invited to test out the instruments the Santa Cecilia Orchestra will play later,” reports Mandalit del Barco in an “All Things Considered” segment on Tuesday (5/27) at NPR. “Alexa Media Rodriguez, 8, says she and her family have never before been to an orchestra concert.… ‘I brought my dad, my stepmom,’ she says, ‘my sister, my brother and my sister’s cousin….’ That’s the thing about this orchestra, says conductor Sonia Marie De Leon De Vega: The children are bringing the parents…. About 85 percent of the audience is Latino, spanning all ages. They sit mesmerized… ‘You go to the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, [De Leon De Vega] says, ‘people are there on a Sunday afternoon with an entire family.… I thought, “Wow, I would love for that to exist back home.” ’ So in 1992, she founded the Santa Cecilia Orchestra.… She says she once got an email from a girl who watched her conduct a Brahms symphony. ‘She wrote, “I am a gang member, and I have never gone to a symphony concert before… This music touched my soul.” ’ ” Read Symphony magazine’s article about the rise of Hispanic music directors here.

Posted May 28, 2014