Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Noteworthy Fellows

This week I am in full preparation mode as I get ready to move to Boston. In 12 days my journey as an Abreu Fellow will officially begin. I am looking forward to meeting the 9 other distinguished fellows and I am excited to finally get to meet Tony Woodcock, president of the New England Conservatory. I can't wait to get started!

I keep getting exciting news about last year's fellows from Stephanie Scherpf, managing director of El Sistema USA and I wanted to take a moment and share with you some of these news bites.

Dantes Rameau who is an Abreu Fellow Alum recently launched the Atlanta Music Project. "Modeled on El Sistema, Venezuela’s nationwide system of youth orchestras, the Atlanta Music Project is a 5-day-a-week, after-school, youth orchestra and choir program targeting underserved communities in metropolitan Atlanta"
Mayor Kasim Reed officially announced the opening of the city of Atlanta's Cultural Centers, one of which will house the Atlanta Music Project. I want to congratulate Dantes for his hard work and dedication to the realization of this wonderful and inspiring project. A project which was established back in February of 2010 and is now a reality, bringing music education to kids who otherwise could not afford it.

Another Abreu Fellow Alum, Katie Wyatt, has "officially launched KidZNotes, an El Sistema inspired in-and after-school program that provides orchestra music training in the poorest neighborhoods of Durham, North Carolina". KidZNotes has partnered with Duke University, the East Durham Children’s Initiative, Durham Public Schools, Durham Parks and Recreation, High Strung Strings, and the Durham Symphony to fulfill their mission which is to "combat poverty, strengthen inner-city education, and foster positive decision-making to unlock the world". Through classical and orchestral music training modeled after Venezuela's El Sistema, KidZNotes is off to a great start "unlocking the world" for underserved kids in Durham. Congratulations to Katie Wyatt and KidZNotes!!

I hope to follow in their footsteps and am certain that by the end of this amazing fellowship, I will have all the tools I need to make that happen. Everyone deserves music, and I want to make sure to carry-out the dream of inspiring people who believe that we need to "educate the whole child", and part of that education includes the gift of music.

If you have any thoughts you would like to share with me, I'm all ears!

Let's share 'Notes'

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Only two more weeks until I move up to Boston. Thanks to my brother-in-law who is the king of online travel bookings, I have my flight date set. Boston here I come!

Just a few months ago I was waiting with anticipation to hear from the Abreu Fellowship Program. Waiting to find out if I had been selected to participate in this year's group of distinguished Fellows. Really my anticipation was accompanied by  fear and anxiety because let's face it, no one likes to be rejected. Fortunately I did receive the long awaited acceptance e-mail and all of my anticipation was replaced with excitement and joy. Summer months have past quickly with a lot of time spent planning and organizing in order to make my move to Boston smooth and worry-free.

Keeping with the theme of anticipation, I have been in preparation mode for the past couple of weeks now. Just making sure I have everything I need to have a successful experience at the NEC. I purchased a new laptop and am doing my best to remember how PowerPoint works because I have to give a brief presentation on day 1 of the Fellowship!  I am thankful to all my college professors who insisted on making me stand in front of the class and present my work, I have a feeling I will be tapping into all their tips and  recommendations soon!

Apart from preparing presentations I have been doing a lot of reading. Guided reading! Erik Holmgren, Education Director for the Abreu Fellows, has sent out a wonderful list of articles and materials to all of us anxious Fellows and that's what I've been focusing on lately. If you have some time and would like to take a look at some of the articles I've recently been reading, I recommend the NEC's "Journal for Music Education". In here you will find an article by Jose Antonio Abreu himself (Founder of Venezuela's El Sistema)  and an interview with Mark Churchill (Director of El Sistema USA).

I am anticipating a lot of wonderful things to come but most of all I am hoping to inspire and be inspired. The Fellowship has not even started officially and yet I feel like my journey has already begun. Let's take this journey together. If you have any feedback on the NEC's Journal articles, please post your comments here as I am looking forward to hearing from you. Until next time,

Let's share 'Notes'