In Monday’s (2/10) Morning Call (Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania), Adam Clark writes, “Roosevelt Elementary School doesn’t have a dedicated music room. The east Allentown school doesn’t have its own music teacher, either. And because of budget cuts, students at Roosevelt, as in all Allentown School District elementary schools, get no more than 10 or 12 class periods of singing and instrument playing each year. But after school, the sounds of a symphony fill Roosevelt’s gymnasium/cafeteria and spill into the halls … 85 Allentown students and about 10,000 across the country [take advantage of] an opportunity to participate in a free after-school program called El Sistema, which provides instruments and lessons to youth in poorer neighborhoods. Paid for by grants and fundraising by the Allentown Symphony Association, the program is part of a global movement that gives students musical instruction, academic tutoring, and an opportunity to change their lives. … ‘We’re no longer talking about music for music’s sake,’ [program director Steven] Liu said. ‘We’re talking about [music] for the community and the development of whole individuals, development of citizens.’ “ The Allentown Symphony received a 2012-2013 Getty Education and Community Investment Grant through the League of American Orchestras. The Summer 2013 issue of Symphony magazine reports on multiple Sistema-inspired programs.

Posted February 14, 2014