El Sistema Brings Music Back to Bruce Randolph

El Sistema Band & Orchestra Director Hollie Bennett leads students in a drum circle

A fantastic new partnership between El Sistema Colorado and Bruce Randolph Middle & High School means a new student band and orchestra.

The 900 students that attend Bruce Randolph Middle & High School have had no music program for several years. That is changing as El Sistema Colorado starts a new band and orchestra program at Bruce Randolph this fall. The school is investing funds from the recent mill levy to hire a full-time El Sistema Band & Orchestra Director, Hollie Bennett, as well as musical theater teacher Meagan Malsam. El Sistema is providing teaching artists and assistants in brass, woodwinds, strings and percussion to provide instruction and support development of the performing ensembles.

90 middle school students now receive daily band music education during the school day, with additional middle and high school students enrolled in the after-school orchestra and band program. El Sistema programs run until 5:30 pm Monday – Thursday, providing free instruments and instruction. Students also have the opportunity for musical theater instruction, and to participate in a musical theater production.

One of the important benefits of music education is exciting students about learning and encouraging them to stay in school through graduation. Deprived of the joy and engagement opportunities that come from more enriching activities, low income youth feel less engaged in school and the achievement gap that separates them from their more privileged peers only grows. Now, Bruce Randolph students have top quality music education and performance ensembles that provide the inspiration and incentive to stay and succeed in school.

Photo: El Sistema Band & Orchestra Director Hollie Bennett leads students in a drum circle