Claudine St-Arnauld, WSO violinist, interacting with children (WSO)
"With this instrument, you are going to change the world," declared Antonio Abreu, founder of El Sistema. His music program is credited with turning around the lives countless destitute children headed for a life on the streets.
He started the program with just 11 underprivileged children in an old garage in the slums of Caracas, Venezuela in 1975. "The system" has now spread worldwide and there are currently 400,000 children expressing music and receiving its benefits under the Sistema ideals.
Now Sistema is coming to Winnipeg.
"Our goal is to expose students to musical communities in Winnipeg, to expand their borders and to enrich their lives with meaningful relationships," says Kristjanna Oleson, a dynamic music teacher who will be leading the program at Elwick Community School.
She'll be joined by members of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra to offer this free, after-school music activity. It's an intensive three-hour daily program that provides a creative alternative for children who might otherwise turn to crime or street gangs. Through music, the children will develop personal skills, improve self esteem, learn to work well with others and ultimately build a better community.