On Sunday, May 16, 2010, CBS’ news magazine 60 Minutes featured a segment on Gustavo Dudamel and El Sistema USA, in particular YOLA (Youth Orchestra LA) and the Baltimore Symphony’s OrchKids program. Gustavo Dudamel is, of course, the new Music Director of the Los Angeles Philhamonic, and the segment shows him at his first rehearsal with the LA Phil musicians. But it also showcased two programs that are applying El Sistema tenets and ideals to American cities.
I described YOLA in a previous blog post — it’s a partnership of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Harmony Project, and the city of Los Angeles’ Expo Center. OrchKids is a program started by Marin Alsop, Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony, to “expand the orchestra’s relevance to the city’s broad and diverse community.” In essence, the OrchKids staff have adopted an inner-city West Baltimore elementary school, and provide musicianship classes during the day for all the school’s Kindergarten and pre-K children, and intensive after-school sessions for 75 children who have opted to join the OrchKids program, ranging from pre-K to 3rd grade.
I just posted a detailed article with photos on Polyphonic (there’s a photo link on the home page) describing the nitty-gritty of how OrchKids works; the article has a couple of links to videos about OrchKids and interviews with young children in the program.
And if you didn’t have a chance to watch the 60 Minutes segment, you can do so by clicking here. Check out little 5-year old Miguel Ware who wants to play the tuba — he’s featured in both the 60 Minutes piece and my article!