State of Massachusetts to fund El Sistema music-education programs

Posted on: December 4, 2014

“Massachusetts has become the first state in the country to set aside funding for the Venezuelan-born effort known as El Sistema,” writes Andrea Shea on Tuesday (12/2) at the website of Boston’s WBUR radio station. “The announcement was made official at an event Monday organized by the Massachusetts Cultural Council” in Boston, attended by “young musicians from ensembles around the state” including “16-year-old Jerannchris Rivera Heredia,” brass captain of the band at Springfield High School of Science and Technology, who credits his group’s director, Gary Bernice, with ‘inspiring me to do better in my classes.’ … Organizations and schools receiving the first round of funding include the social service Kids 4 Harmony program in Pittsfield, Sistema Somerville and the Cape Conservatory in Hyannis. Cape Conservatory managing director Stephanie Weaver says the grant money will be targeted to schools where music education has been cut.… Anita Walker, the executive director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, advocated for the program after visiting Venezuela with two higher-ed schools who’ve embraced the El Sistema model—the New England Conservatory and Longy School of Music.” Erik Holmgren is overseeing the initiative, which will include a free instrument lending library for students and a grant program to “research long-term cognitive benefits of music.”

Posted December 4, 2014