OrKidstra News: Symposium Follow Up

April 19, 2012

For those of you following us in the blogosphere, you’ll remember that the end of March was a particularly busy time for those of us involved with The Leading Note Foundation’s OrKidstra program (so busy, in fact, that the store’s owners took off on holiday immediately following the event for a well deserved rest!).  We co-hosted a Symposium on Social Change Through Music on March 31st as well as other events celebrating the special influence Venezuela’s El Sistema has had on music education throughout the world.

The Leading Note is proud to carry several great resources for those who want to learn more about this amazing musical movement that has changed the lives of countless children.  These include:

Teaching the Life of Music

A newly released DVD documenting El Sistema inspired programs from around the world, including Ottawa’s own OrKidstra program. The film follows three OrKidstra students as they travel to Toronto to meet Dr. Jose Antonio Abreu and the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra (SBYO) as Dr. Abreu is awarded the Glenn Gould Prize for his contribution to music education. Also included is a bonus one hour concert film by the SBYO.

Changing Lives: Gustavo Dudamel, El Sistema, and the Transformative Power of Music

A newly published book chronicling how the El Sistema model transforms children’s lives both in Venezuela and throughout the world. Gustavo Dudamel, the internationally renowned conductor who came up through El Sistema and is now music director of the L.A. Philharmonic, is featured prominently as is his YOLA (Youth Orchestra LA) El Sistema-inspired program. Ottawa and the Leading Note Foundation also get a very brief mention on page 150!

Tocar Y Luchar (To Play and To Fight)

One of the first documentaries to be produced about El Sistema, this was the DVD that inspired the founders of The Leading Note Foundation to develop OrKidstra into the successful program it is today. With interviews with many of the world’s most celebrated musicians including the great tenor Placido Domingo, Claudio Abbado, Sir Simon Rattle, Guiseppe Sinopoli, and Eduardo Mata, To Play and To Fight is an inspirational story of courage, determination, ambition, and love showing us that only those who dream can achieve the impossible.

El Sistema: Music to Change Life

This lyrical and moving documentary takes us from the rubbish dumps and barrios of Caracas to the world’s finest concert halls. This film, focusing on the inner workings of El Sistema in Venezuela, came out a few years after “Tocar y Luchar” and, while it is extremely good – longer and somewhat more polished – it doesn’t quite capture the magic of El Sistema as much as the original film does.

We’ll leave you with highlights from the concert that closed the March 31st Symposium in Ottawa’s Dominion Chalmers Church.  Nothing captures the positive effects of music education on children better than seeing them perform together – it was a magical end to an inspiring day!  Many thanks to the Simon Bolivar String Quartet who kindly shared their passion for music with the children of OrKidstra both as fellow performers and as supportive audience members.

Symposium for Social Harmony through Music from JAG on Vimeo.

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