In last Wednesday’s (11/17) Record (Stockton, California), Michael Fitzgerald writes, “The long-standing knock on University of the Pacific is that it is aloof from the Stockton community. But Pacific is taking welcome steps to infuse the city with its mojo. … The most crying need is to attack the culture of educational mediocrity prevalent in certain quarters of the city. The culture of the dropout factory, low-wage jobs (or unemployment), poverty, political apathy, cluelessness and crime. Pacific proposes to tackle this challenge in several ways. Coolest is by adapting a version of El Sistema, Venezuela’s remarkable music program for the poor. ‘I was there, and I saw it,’ said Giulio Ongaro, dean of Pacific’s Conservatory of Music, which will run this program in partnership with the Stockton Symphony. ‘And to me, what was very moving was the enthusiasm and the satisfaction these kids had in playing. There was a pride that’s hard to describe.’ … Ongaro stresses the program will not replace, but complement, existing music programs. And Pacific will respect family input, not impose a program.”

Posted November 23, 2010