Friday, May 2, 2014

Back in the swing of things

I realize it has been a while since I have posted here. My only excuse is that life happens in between all things. But the good news is that I am back in the swing of things and am looking forward to using this blog once again to share 'Notes' with you.

A lot has happened since my last posts but one thing remains the same, my unwavering dedication to the notion that access to high quality arts education can have a deep impact in the lives of young people. And so to this end I am continuing my efforts to being a part of a movement that is helping to make this possible for youth who otherwise would have to go without any arts programming.

I am anxious to share with you my new projects and also some of what I have been up to these past months. Stay tuned for updates and news.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bennington College El Sistema Presentation

Gustavo Dudamel thoughts about El Sistema plus Simon Rattle

Ted Prize Wish


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Back to Boston I go!

Greetings my blogger friends!

I have some exciting news to share. I am heading back to Boston! I've accepted the position as Artistic Director at YOFES and so will be soon packing my bags and heading back east.
Although I am sad to leave Kids 4 Harmony, I am very excited about getting back to YOFES.

I am thankful for the opportunity to have served as Director of Kids 4 Harmony. I am also very proud of the program's successes over the past year. We have come a long way. Our kids are beginning to understand the concept of working together as a team to achieve the same musical goal. They have performed exceptionally well in all of their public appearances, especially considering that most of them have only played their instruments for 5 months. Kids 4 Harmony has won a place in this community and I am proud of this achievement.

  • Pittsfield Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi had this to say about Kids 4 Harmony: "This is the kind of program that I think will change lives and that will change our community".

It has been an exciting experience to be part of developing a new program and it has brought me great joy to see it all come to fruition.  I am delighted to have been part of bringing El Sistema to Western Massachusetts. The groundwork has been laid and will allow for the program to grow and have much success. I look forward to hearing of Kids 4 Harmony's continued progress as it carries on its mission of changing lives through music.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Kids 4 Harmony is under way!

Hello my blogger friends!
I have been in western Massachusetts for 6 months now hard at work to bring El Sistema to Pittsfield. I am so happy to share with you the news that Kids 4 Harmony officially opened its doors on January 17th of this year.

Kids 4 Harmony is an El Sistema inspired program of social change through music. If you are an avid social media user, I encourage you to 'like' us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

A lot of hard work has gone into bringing El Sistema to Pittsfield and because of generous contributions from individuals and organizations as well as private companies, we were able to make this dream come true.

I have started a blog for Kids 4 Harmony where I will post pictures and videos of our young musicians as they develop their skills and grow into western Massachusetts first children's symphony orchestra. You can check out our blog here.

We are at the start of a wonderful journey!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

El Sistema in western Massachusetts!

I am happy to announce that I have started my new position as Program Director for El Sistema at Berkshire Children and Families in Pittsfield Massachusetts.
I am very excited to bring El Sistema to western Massachusetts and will be sure to keep you all posted on how the program develops.
I am hard at work dreaming up a "Baby Choir" like the one I witnessed in Barquisimeto. If you want to read more about my experience in Venezuela please visit Tony Woodcocks blog here where I was invited to be a guest blogger. There you will find pictures and videos from my 5 week internship in Venezuela  back in May.
Stay tuned for more updates. For now I am getting to know Pittsfield and the communities that Berkshire Children and Families' El Sistema program will serve. I can't wait to share 'notes' with all of you as we bring this dream to life.
You can find out more about the project by reading the press release in the Berkshire Eagle which is the local paper for Pittsfield Massachusetts.

Berkshire Children and Families

El Sistema USA

Abreu Fellows Graduation June 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


We will soon be heading to Venezuela for our residency there and are all very excited about our upcoming trip.

While in Venezuela we will get to visit and work in many different nucleos around the country. We are all equipped with very cool flip cams which we will be taking with us on our trip in order to document as much as possible.  Hopefully by the time we return I will have figured out how to upload or embed a video on my blog and share some footage with you.

I am sure some of you are curious as to what the Fellows have been up to these past few weeks. Well, we've been on our U.S. internships and spring break all the while working diligently on future El Sistema projects. We are all still in the process of figuring out what's next. June is fast approaching and some of us are lucky enough to have wonderful choices for where we would like to be come July, August, or even September. It is an exciting time for all of us, but it is also a time when most of us are being very systematic as we look at future partnerships and organizations we may be thinking of joining. Rest assured that come June you will all know where we will be. I myself plan on keeping my blog even post Fellowship.

I am looking forward to putting into practice everything I've learned during the Fellowship and hope to continue to be a resource for anyone who may have questions about El Sistema, or is contemplating starting an El Sistema nucleo.  A new class of Abreu Fellows should be getting acceptance letters any day now and as my class graduates and goes out into the field to achieve greatness, our network grows stronger.

As soon as I have concrete plans to share with you about where I will be next year and what my part will be in the greater El Sistema network I will share with you. I am still trying to figure it out. What I can say is that wherever I am, I will keep sharing 'notes' with all of you.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


As part of our program at NEC this year all 10 Abreu Fellows have been placed in Community Placements throughout Greater Boston. These community placements started way back in October and for most of us are still ongoing. Here is a short list of some of the organizations we have been working with this year:

Boston City Singers
Boston Quartet
CLCS (Conservatory Lab Charter School)

 I was very fortunate to be matched with an amazing and inspiring organization: YOUTH AND FAMILY ENRICHEMENT SERVICES, INC. (YOFES).

YOFES is located in Hyde Park which is an area south of Boston, past Jamaica Plain and past Roslindale. It takes me over an hour to get there each time I go (I have to take two metro trains and a bus). But when I go, I enter a world where mission and vision mean something. The  mission of YoFES is "to build strong families that can raise healthy children, even in the face of poverty, social inequity, and cultural transition". They do this by helping inner-city youth meet today's health, education, and career challenges; by engaging youth as leaders; and by helping parents understand, guide, and support youth.

You may wonder how this mission aligns with our music education leadership program as Abreu Fellows? Well, along with the youth health careers program, parenting education, and many other public health related programs, YoFES offers a children's music program!

YoFES's music program is called OAMEC ( Open Access to Music Education for Children) and they are dedicated to "engaging at risk youth into the world of music, and providing students a positive outlet to expressing themselves.  I invite you to visit their website:

YoFES is a wonderful place where children can come after school and on weekends (they run Saturday AND Sunday!). This is a place where "every child is an asset". I feel very privileged to have gotten to know the kids and staff of YoFES.
 I want to share with you an opportunity to help support this wonderful place. They are currently running an instrument drive for the music program so if you have an instrument you would like to donate please contact them or just stop by anytime!

1234 Hyde Park Ave. Suite 104