Music: Joy for the Journey

On Saturday, February 25th, the kindergarteners of Garden Place Academy took an important step: they graduated to the orchestra where real violins await them. Below are pictures taken during the event and Dr. Diana Howard’s thoughts on the kindergarteners’ achievement.

Before El SistemaOur StageOur tools ......for sound......and order.Those who help usIt takes concentration ...... hard work ...... drive ...... and fun!This is who we are!And where we will go.And where we will go.

Photographs by Brigid Mcauliffe and provided courtesy of The Piton Foundation.

Dressed in their best, Garden Place Academy’s kindergarteners prepared for the event they had been waiting for …their “graduation” from paper violins to REAL violins!  There were excited families, beaming children …in all, 300 strong… hurrying down the halls toward the Garden Place auditorium for our second El Sistema Colorado Celebration.

Dr. Diana Howard

First, the kindergarteners performed with aplomb, singing all verses of A Fox Went Out on a Snowy Night, showing their expertise with rhythm instruments, and, with amazing precision, bowing their paper violins to Twinkle, Twinkle and Marry Had a Little Lamb with the accompaniment of a violist playing the tunes.

But most important, their faces glowed with pride and joy at all they had learned in a few short weeks of daily El Sistema classes.

Each kindergartener received El Sistema Colorado’s “The Bridge” Award to celebrate their achievement of moving from their paper violins to the real thing.  They will now continue their learning on appropriately sized real violins.

The third graders followed the kindergartners’ performance, singing I’m Gonna Rise Up Singing, and performing a complex body percussion routine.

What these children are experiencing has far reaching impacts in their lives:

  • Dedication and responsibility grow as they attend El Sistema classes two and a half hours after school M – TH (a half hour per kindergarten class each morning in school).
  • Collaboration and community building are honored.  After the children learn a percussion routine or a bow hold, they help someone else learn it!
  • Joy reigns as they carefully open their violin cases and lift out their instruments!  Joy forms the foundation of true desire to learn.
  • Pride in accomplishment lights their eyes daily as they sing, drum, and learn all the intricacies of playing an instrument.

Truly, El Sistema is a community building phenomena bringing hope and pride to families in an often neglected corner of Denver.  Come and see! Our next Community Saturday event will be held March 17th, starting at 11:00 AM.