A free after-school music education program for children is showcasing its talent in the Forest City.
El Sistema Aeolian is a program inspired by the award-winning Venezuelan program started in 1975, which offers youth instruments and music lessons to those that otherwise may not have access to the arts.
The program, which is run by Aeolian Hall, is targeted to all children regardless of their background, ability, or financial means. Participants are given the opportunity to learn orchestra and ensemble music.
Coordinator of El Sistema, Minerva Figueroa, says all they ask from participants is a positive attitude.
“This is a program where all families can apply. The only thing we ask in return is a commitment,” says Figueroa.
Part of that commitment is to attend rehearsals, which take place at Lorne Ave Public School, for 4 days a week. Children are also required to attend field trips and concerts outside the classroom.
Because the program is at no cost for families, El Sistema Aeolian says they rely on generous donations.
“We ask and seek donations, sponsorships, and funding from private and government foundations,” adds Figueroa.
Figueroa tells the X that they look for money donations, instruments, and volunteers such as music coaches, room monitors, and people to help with their food program.
El Sistema Aeolian is the only program of its kind in North America to provide nourishment to participants. At the beginning of each rehearsal, children are provided with snacks and a warm meal.
“We try to have something available because there is always kids who haven’t had breakfast or lunch,” Figueroa tells the X.
Although El Sistema Aeolian currently takes place at Lorne Ave Public School, Figueroa says they plan to bring the program to Aeolian Hall next year. Along with the new setting, the program also hopes to add more instruments to their music instructions such as piano.
For more information on the program, click here.