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Free Virtual Summer Music Programs

Free Virtual Summer Music Programs

Music Makers Class, June 2020

This summer is different for our world and for our students. There are many camps or classes for students that have been cancelled in order to keep families, students, and staff safe as we weather the Coronavirus crisis. 

Here at El Sistema Colorado, we have worked to create meaningful and exciting virtual experiences for our students. The ESC staff and teaching artists have built a robust selection of offerings for students of all ages. 

In every program we seek to empower children by providing an intensive music program that teaches the importance of teamwork, promotes self-confidence, and instills the value of social responsibility. We hope this summer’s free virtual programs will do just that.

This summer’s virtual programs include:

Private Lessons with Weekly Studio Class

Students of all ages work one-on-one with an El Sistema Colorado string or vocal teaching artist via Zoom on technique, musicianship, and musicality to prepare a performance for a weekly Studio Class. 

Music Makers Class

Made for K-5 students, this interactive class uses songs and games to help young musicians learn the basics of reading music and to connect what they see on the page to how it sounds on an instrument. 

Musicianship for Mastery

Musicianship for Mastery is designed to teach students, grades 6-12, the theory behind the practice. Our expert teaching artists will focus on music theory, aural training, audition preparation, and more. This fantastic course helps students take their playing to the next level. 

Songwriting Workshop

This fun and interactive online course is led by Denver-based teacher and jazz musician Richard Clarke. Students will learn how to make music using technology and Latin American jazz traditions. 

Conducting Workshop 

This is a five-day online workshop where students learn basic conducting techniques, conducting gestures, score study, and rehearsal dynamics. The workshop culminates in a final recording of each student conducting an ensemble.

Denver Philharmonic Orchestra’s Associate Conductor, Taylor Gonzales, leads students through this interactive course.

Programas musicales virtuales gratuitos en el verano

Este verano es diferente para nuestro mundo y para nuestros estudiantes. Hay muchos campamentos o clases para estudiantes que han sido cancelados con el fin de mantener a las familias, los estudiantes y el personal a salvo mientras afrontamos la crisis de Coronavirus.

Aquí en El Sistema Colorado, hemos trabajado para crear experiencias virtuales significativas y emocionantes para nuestros estudiantes. El personal de ESC y los artistas docentes han creado una sólida selección de ofertas para estudiantes de todas las edades.

En cada programa procuramos empoderar a los niños al proporcionar un programa de música intensivo que enseña la importancia del trabajo en equipo, promueve la autoconfianza e infunde el valor de la responsabilidad social. Esperamos que los programas virtuales gratuitos de este verano hagan exactamente eso.

Los programas virtuales de este verano incluyen:

Clases particulares con clase de estudio semanal

Los estudiantes de todas las edades trabajan uno a uno con un instructor de cuerda o de voz de El Sistema Colorado por Zoom en la técnica, la maestría musical y la musicalidad para preparar una actuación para la clase de estudio. 

Clase para creadores de música

Diseñada para estudiantes de K-5, esta clase interactiva utiliza canciones y juegos para ayudar a los jóvenes músicos a aprender los conceptos básicos de la lectura de música y para conectar lo que ven en la página con cómo suena en un instrumento.

La maestría de la música

La maestría de la música está diseñada para enseñar a los estudiantes, grados 6-12, la teoría detrás de la práctica. Nuestros expertos artistas docentes se enfocan en teoría musical, entrenamiento auditivo, preparación de audiciones y más. Este curso es fantástico para los estudiantes que desean llevar su habilidad al siguiente nivel. 

Taller de composición

Este curso divertido e interactivo en línea está dirigido Richard Clarke, un maestro y músico de jazz radicado en Denver. Los estudiantes aprenderán a crear música usando la tecnología y las tradiciones de jazz latinoamericanas.

Taller de conducción

Este es un taller en línea de cinco días donde los estudiantes aprenden técnicas básicas de conducción, gestos de conducción, estudio de partitura y dinámica de ensayo. Este taller culminará con una grabación final de estudiantes individuales que dirigen un conjunto.

El director asociado de la Orquesta Filarmónica de Denver, Taylor Gonzales, guiará a los estudiantes a través de este curso interactivo.

Q+A with ESC’s New Executive Director—Whitney Stuberg


Whitney Stuberg with ESC Student
Whitney Stuberg, El Sistema Colorado Music Center, 2019

We are thrilled to announce that Whitney Stuberg has assumed the full-time role of Executive Director of El Sistema Colorado as of June 8, 2020. As you may be aware, Whitney has grown quickly in her role as Development & Operations Manager since starting with ESC in September 2019. Since then, Whitney has shown excellent leadership as we launched the ESC Music Center in the Curtis Park / Five Points neighborhood. She has proven herself and is clearly prepared to take ESC successfully into the future in this critical role.

Monika Vischer, a co-founder and past board chair of ESC, has voluntarily served as our Interim Executive Director for the last two years, helping to carry us through these transitions. Monika is eager to return as a regular member of the board of directors.

Take some time to get to know Whitney, her history, her hopes for El Sistema Colorado’s future, and even a favorite song of the moment!

What initially drew you to El Sistema Colorado (ESC)?

Whitney Stuberg Headshot
Whitney Stuberg, El Sistema Colorado Executive Director

El Sistema is a legendary music education movement and it captured me as a young teacher. I was in complete awe of the vision, passion, and beauty coming from some of the most underserved communities in Venezuela. I remember studying El Sistema in college thinking, Wow, these communities are wrapped in music and it is changing the trajectory for an entire generation of children. How can I create a classroom that captures that spirit? 

El Sistema programs have a battle cry, Tocar y luchar, which means “To Play and to Fight”. That’s the true essence of what ESC offers students – the ability to fight for their future. I have always believed I was meant to play a role in giving children the opportunity to discover the best version of themselves. I am humbled by this opportunity to lead El Sistema Colorado in our mission to change lives through music. 

What does success look like for you and ESC in a year?

Our strategic planning could not have come at a better time. We are not only navigating the COVID-19 crisis, but also in a moment in history where the world is opening itself to radical, systemic change. Success for El Sistema Colorado means creating a culturally-responsive educational environment and ensuring that it is responsibly supported for years to come. 

El Sistema Colorado recognizes its responsibility to effect change and that begins with our own organization. The board and myself are committed to serving our community better and to be better, beginning with a renewed promise to equity and inclusion made by our board in April as part of our three-year strategic planning process.

Over the course of the next year, we plan to engage field experts and develop an action plan focused on increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion on our board, among our staff, and in our programming. We will ensure a musical learning environment that includes a teaching staff, repertoire, curriculum, and pedagogy which reflects our community and values. We continue to commit ourselves to social justice and to our charge to create a more equitable world for all. 

Striving for stability means that we can be a rock for our community when everything else feels inconsistent and insecure. I am thrilled to be leading the organization alongside an incredible Board of Directors as we bring our plan to life and see how it creates opportunities for students and families in Denver. 

Success for ESC for the coming year is rooted in stability. The 2019/20 year was a wonderful success for El Sistema Colorado with launching the ESC Music Center, curating its first professional concert series, and becoming the most financially stable we have been for many years. The Board of Directors and staff laid a foundation for true stability and are now ready to confidently curate a new vision for ESC’s future.

We are changing our focus from day-to-day operational stability to ensuring ESC’s ability to thrive for years to come. In the fall, we will announce a new 18-month operational plan partnered with a three-year strategic plan that is focused on four pillars: Diversity and Equity, Musical Excellence, Organizational and Financial Stability, and Growth Readiness. 

I am so excited to see El Sistema Colorado’s place in the community one year from now. This organization is needed more than ever before and I cannot wait to invite all of Denver to make music with us. 

What music educator made the biggest impact on your life and why?

My orchestra teacher in middle school and high school, Mrs. Christy Fine, will always and forever be the most impactful educator of my life. My family moved around a lot growing up. I attended four middle schools in three years in two different states. I started playing cello in her class my sixth grade year, moved multiple times, and then finally returned to her class when I was a freshman in high school. 

I have a very clear memory of walking up to Mrs. Fine’s desk as a shy sixth grader and telling her that I had to quit the orchestra because my family couldn’t afford to rent an instrument. She immediately picked up the phone, called my parents, and sent me home with a cello that afternoon. I play cello to this day because of her kindness.

Her classroom became my whole world, a place where I could be my best self, a place where I was needed, a place where my gifts mattered. Yes, music was the root of the experience, but the home that the ensemble created kept me engaged in music for all of my life. She changed my life through music and now it is my joy to create the same opportunity for our El Sistema Colorado students. 

Do you have a favorite moment since joining the ESC team?

ESC launched a new concert series called the ESC Artist Series. It was designed to create a space for all of our stakeholders – families, students, donors, and community members – to experience music together. In February, Cecilia Violetta Lopez, a brilliant Mexican American opera star was in town performing with Opera Colorado. She performed at the ESC Music Center and gave a masterclass with one of our singers. 

She told our audience stories about growing up in a migrant community and about her journey to success as a performing artist. Everyone in the room was moved to tears listening to her share. I love when music creates moments to be vulnerable together and learn from one another. I’ll hold that memory in my heart for many years to come. 

What piece of music has brought you joy recently?

Our first ESC Concert Series event was in December with a Denver-based ensemble called Miguel Espinoza Flamenco Fusion. They are a flamenco/jazz fusion band that use classical instruments to create some INCREDIBLE arrangements. They are now my favorite local band.

Take a listen to this arrangement of Erik Satie’s “Gnossienne No. 1.” 


Whitney Stuberg with ESC Student

Estamos entusiasmados de anunciar que Whitney Stuberg asumirá el cargo de Directora Ejecutiva de El Sistema Colorado a tiempo completo a partir del 8 de junio de 2020. Como ya saben, Whitney ha crecido rápidamente en su papel como Gerente de Desarrollo y Operaciones desde que comenzó con ESC en septiembre. Desde entonces, Whitney ha demostrado un excelente liderazgo cuando lanzamos el ESC Music Center en el vecindario Curtis Park / Five Points. Ella ha demostrado su valía y está claramente preparada para llevar ESC con éxito en el futuro en este papel crítico.

Monika Vischer, cofundadora y presidenta anterior de la junta directiva de ESC, ha servido voluntariamente como nuestra Directora Ejecutiva Interina durante los últimos dos años, ayudando a llevarnos a través de estas transiciones. Monika está ansiosa por regresar como miembro regular de la junta directiva y continúa ayudándonos en esta fase de nuestro trabajo.

¡Tómese un tiempo para conocer a Whitney, su historia, sus esperanzas para el futuro de El Sistema Colorado e incluso una canción favorita del momento!

¿Qué te atrajo inicialmente a El Sistema Colorado (ESC)?

Whitney Stuberg Headshot
Whitney Stuberg, Directora Ejecutiva de El Sistema Colorado

El Sistema es un movimiento legendario de educación musical y me capturó como una joven maestra. Estaba completamente asombrada de la visión, la pasión y la belleza provenientes de algunas de las comunidades más desatendidas de Venezuela. Recuerdo cuando aprendía de El Sistema en la universidad y pensé, ¡Guau!, estas comunidades están envueltas en música y eso está cambiando la trayectoria de toda una generación de niños. ¿Cómo puedo crear un aula que capture ese espíritu?

Los programas de El Sistema tienen un grito de batalla, Tocar y luchar, que significa “To Play and to Fight”. Esa es la verdadera esencia de lo que ESC ofrece a los estudiantes: la capacidad de luchar por su futuro. Siempre he creído que estaba destinada a desempeñar un papel en darles a los niños la oportunidad de descubrir la mejor versión de sí mismos. Me siento honrada por esta oportunidad de dirigir El Sistema Colorado en nuestra misión de cambiar vidas a través de la música.

¿Cómo es el éxito para usted y ESC en un año?

Nuestra planificación estratégica no podría haber llegado en un mejor momento. No solo estamos navegando por la crisis de COVID-19, sino también en un momento de la historia en el que el mundo se está abriendo a un cambio radical y sistémico. El éxito para El Sistema Colorado significa crear un ambiente educativo culturalmente receptivo y garantizar que sea respaldado responsablemente en los años que vienen.

El Sistema Colorado reconoce su responsabilidad de efectuar cambios y eso comienza con nuestra propia organización. La junta directiva y yo serviremos mejor a nuestras comunidades y para ser mejores, comenzando con una promesa renovada de equidad e inclusión hecha por nuestra junta directiva en abril como parte de nuestro proceso de planificación estratégica de tres años.

En el transcurso del próximo año, planeamos involucrar a expertos de campo y desarrollar un plan de acción enfocado en aumentar la diversidad, la equidad y la inclusión en nuestro directorio, entre nuestro personal y en nuestra programación. Aseguraremos un ambiente de aprendizaje musical que incluya un personal docente, un repertorio, un currículo y una pedagogía que refleja nuestra comunidad y nuestros valores. Continuamos comprometiéndonos con la justicia social y con nuestro encargo de crear un mundo más equitativo para todos.

La lucha por la estabilidad significa que podemos ser una roca para nuestra comunidad cuando todo lo demás parece inconsistente e inseguro. Estoy emocionada de dirigir la organización junto con una increíble junta directiva a medida que damos vida a nuestro plan y vemos cómo crea oportunidades para los estudiantes y las familias en Denver.

El éxito de ESC para el próximo año se basa en la estabilidad. El año 2019/20 fue un éxito maravilloso para El Sistema Colorado con el lanzamiento del ESC Music Center, seleccionar su primera serie de conciertos profesionales y convertirse en el más estable financieramente en los que hemos estado durante muchos años. La Junta de Directores y el personal sentaron las bases para una verdadera estabilidad y ahora están listos para seleccionar con confianza una nueva visión para el futuro de ESC.

Estamos cambiando nuestro enfoque de la estabilidad operativa diaria para garantizar la capacidad de ESC de prosperar en los años que vienen. En el otoño, anunciaremos un nuevo plan operativo de 18 meses asociado con un plan estratégico de tres años que se centra en cuatro pilares: Diversidad y Equidad, Excelencia Musical, Estabilidad Organizativa y Financiera, y Preparación para el Crecimiento.

Estoy muy emocionada de ver el lugar de El Sistema Colorado en la comunidad dentro de un año. Esta organización se necesita más que nunca y no puedo esperar para invitar a todo Denver a crear música con nosotros.

¿Qué educador musical tuvo el mayor impacto en tu vida y por qué?

Mi profesora de orquesta en la escuela secundaria y preparatoria, la Sra. Christy Fine, será para siempre la educadora más impactante de mi vida. Mi familia se mudó mucho mientras crecía. Asistí a cuatro escuelas intermedias en tres años en dos estados diferentes. Comencé a tocar el violonchelo en su clase mi sexto año de primaria, me mudé varias veces y finalmente regresé a su clase cuando era estudiante de primer año en la escuela secundaria.

Recuerdo claramente que me acerqué al escritorio de la señora Fine como una tímida estudiante de sexto grado y le dije que tenía que dejar la orquesta porque mi familia no podía permitirse alquilar un instrumento. Inmediatamente levantó el teléfono, llamó a mis padres y me envió a casa con un chelo esa tarde. Toco el violonchelo hasta el día de hoy por su amabilidad.

Su salón de clases se convirtió en mi mundo entero, un lugar donde podía ser lo mejor que podía ser, un lugar donde me necesitaban, un lugar donde importaban mis dones. Sí, la música fue la raíz de la experiencia, pero el hogar que creó el conjunto me mantuvo comprometida con la música durante toda mi vida. Ella cambió mi vida a través de la música y ahora es un placer crear la misma oportunidad para nuestros estudiantes de El Sistema Colorado.

¿Tienes un momento favorito desde que te uniste al equipo ESC?

ESC lanzó una nueva serie de conciertos llamada ESC Artist Series. Fue diseñada para crear un espacio para que todos nuestros grupos de interés – familias, estudiantes, donantes y miembros de la comunidad – puedan experimentar la música juntos. En febrero, Cecilia Violetta López, una brillante estrella de ópera mexicana-estadounidense, estaba en la ciudad actuando con Opera Colorado. Actuó en el ESC Music Center y dio una clase magistral con uno de nuestros cantantes.

Ella le contó a nuestra audiencia historias sobre crecer en una comunidad migrante y sobre su viaje hacia el éxito como artista escénica. Todos en la sala se conmovieron hasta las lágrimas al escuchar su parte. Me encanta cuando la música crea momentos para ser vulnerables juntos y aprender unos de otros. Guardaré ese recuerdo en mi corazón por muchos años más.

¿Qué pieza musical te ha traído alegría recientemente?

Nuestro primer evento del ESC Concert Series fue en diciembre con un conjunto con sede en Denver llamado Miguel Espinoza Flamenco Fusion. Es una banda de fusión de flamenco / jazz que usa instrumentos clásicos para crear arreglos INCREÍBLES. Ahora es mi banda local favorita.

Escuche este arreglo de “Gnossienne No. 1” de Erik Satie.

Tocar y Luchar

Dear El Sistema Colorado Friends and Families, 

With a heavy heart, we write to reflect on the recent murder of George Floyd, as well as the murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, De’Von Bailey, Philando Castile, and so many others whose murder has a direct connection to centuries of bias, violence, and systematic racism against our communities of color — in particular, our Black brothers and sisters.  

We mourn alongside the families and communities who feel the full force of loss, pain, and the suffering that white supremacy has inflicted. We do not accept society as it is and commit to creating change in our world. 
El Sistema was founded on the fundamental mission of using music for social change. The battle cry of El Sistema and El Sistema-inspired programs is “Tocar y Luchar” which means “To Play and to Fight.” In this moment in history we continue to make music, but we also fight for what is right. 

We fight for justice. 

We continue to process recent events and atrocities this nation has committed against people of color, but the murder of George Floyd and so many other precious lives is a blaring signal that change must happen now. 

Together, we acknowledge El Sistema Colorado’s responsibility to effect change, beginning with our own organization. To that end, we challenge ourselves to serve our communities better and to be better.

Over the course of the next year we will live by our own call to action. We plan to engage field experts and develop an action plan focused on increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion on our board, among our staff, and in our programming. We want to ensure a musical learning environment that includes a teaching staff, repertoire, curriculum, and pedagogy which reflects the students we serve and our greater community. We are deeply committed to social justice and to our charge to create a more equitable world for all. 

To our Black community members, our hearts are with you. We stand by you in the fight against rampant racism, today and everyday. 

Tocar y luchar,

Maritza Dominguez Braswell, ESC Board Chair

Monika Vischer, Interim Executive Director

Estimados amigos y familias de El Sistema Colorado:

Con una gran tristeza, escribimos para reflexionar sobre el reciente asesinato de George Floyd, así como los asesinatos de Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, De’Von Bailey, Philando Castile y tantos otros cuyo asesinato tiene una conexión directa a siglos de prejuicios, violencia y racismo sistemático represivo contra nuestras comunidades de color — en particular, nuestros hermanos y hermanas negros.

Lloramos junto a las familias y las comunidades que sienten toda la fuerza de la pérdida, el dolor y el sufrimiento que la supremacía blanca ha infligido. No aceptamos la sociedad como es y nos comprometemos a crear un cambio en nuestro mundo.

El Sistema fue fundado en la misión fundamental de usar la música para el cambio social. El grito de batalla de El Sistema y los programas inspirados en El Sistema es “Tocar y Luchar”, que significa “To Play and to Fight”. En este momento de la historia seguimos creando música, pero también luchamos por lo que es correcto.

Luchamos por la justicia.

Continuamos procesando eventos y atrocidades recientes que esta nación ha cometido contra afroamericanos, pero el asesinato de George Floyd y de tantas otras vidas preciosas es un llamamiento estruendo de que el cambio debe suceder ahora.

Juntos, reconocemos la responsabilidad imperativa de El Sistema Colorado de afectar el cambio, comenzando con nuestra propia organización. Con ese fin, nos desafiamos a nosotros mismos para servir mejor a nuestras comunidades y para ser mejores, comenzando con una promesa renovada de equidad e inclusión hecha por nuestra junta directiva en abril como parte de nuestro proceso de planificación estratégica de cinco años.

En el transcurso del próximo año viviremos por nuestro propio llamamiento a la acción. Planeamos involucrar a expertos de campo y desarrollar un plan de acción enfocado en aumentar la diversidad, la equidad y la inclusión en nuestra junta directiva, entre nuestro personal y en nuestra programación. Queremos asegurar un ambiente de aprendizaje musical que incluya un personal docente, un repertorio, un plan de estudios y una pedagogía que refleje a los estudiantes que servimos y a nuestra comunidad en general. Estamos profundamente comprometidos con la justicia social y con nuestro encargo de crear un mundo más equitativo para todos.

Para los miembros de nuestra comunidad negra, estamos con ustedes. Los apoyamos en la lucha contra el racismo desenfrenado, hoy y todos los días.

Tocar y luchar,

Maritza Dominguez Braswell, ESC Board Chair

Monika Vischer, Interim Executive Director

Join us for the ESC Concert Series Online! with guitarist, Alfredo Muro on Thursday, April 23 at 7:00 PM

Learning music isn’t the only way to lift our spirits! Join us for an inspired evening of classical guitar from the comfort of your own home. Alfredo Muro has generously agreed to share his talents with our students and our larger ESC family. 

Alfredo Muro has presented concerts in many venues throughout the United States. He has been featured at the Kennedy Center for the Millennium Concert Series in Washington D.C, Benaroya Hall in Seattle, and The Smithsonian Museum.

Alfredo Muro shares the joy of his musical talent while performing, composing and teaching throughout International Guitar Festivals, concerts, lectures, and coaching/teaching at his Guitar Studio. These three passions provide the basis for the phenomenal success of this musician and his constant evolution. 

Now more than ever, music has the power to unite us in our isolation. Don’t miss this concert, Thursday, April 23 at 7 pm.


Our Shared History

From Caracas to Denver

El Sistema began in Caracas Venezuela in 1975, through the vision of Dr. José Antonio Abreu. He dreamed big, planning to provide quality music education to all children in Venezuela, no matter their background. Dr. Abreu believed, as we do today, that making music in an ensemble builds critical life skills and the groundwork for success. 

At his first rehearsal, Dr. Abreu expected to have one hundred students. In reality, only eleven students showed up. Dr. Abreu could have been disheartened and stopped there. Instead, he continued forward—knowing that with time and heart El Sistema would grow. He believed his students would attain musical excellence, but through practice and the structure of the ensemble they would also develop collaborative skills and an ethical framework for life.

Beginning with one man’s vision and just eleven students, a global movement was born. El Sistema in Venezuela, now known as Fundación Musical Simón Bolívar, has 31 symphony orchestras, and more than 300,000 children attend their music schools.

Outside of Venezuela, there are El Sistema inspired programs throughout the world—including El Sistema Colorado. Here we aim to provide children of marginalized communities the same access to high-quality music education as their more privileged peers. We celebrate Dr. Abreu’s vision that music education can improve the life trajectory of children in poverty. At El Sistema Colorado we are committed to cultivating the whole child. We know instrumental and choral ensembles build students’ musical, social, and cognitive skills. We also believe by cultivating support for the whole family and greater community, we positively impact our young musicians’ growing self-confidence, social-emotional development, and leadership skills. 

You can help support our mission to empower children by providing a music program that teaches the importance of teamwork, promotes self-confidence, and instills the value of social responsibility. 

Consider becoming a monthly donor, whether the monthly contribution is big or small, we deeply appreciate the consistent support that helps our students achieve success.

World-famous cellist invites El Sistema Colorado kids to join him on-stage at Red Rocks

The world’s most renowned cellist and musical ambassador started his two-year world tour, in part by inviting the El Sistema Colorado (ESC) youth orchestra to join him on-stage at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, August, 1 2018. “When we got a call from him we thought, ‘He wants to connect with our kids’… but instead, it was to invite our kids to perform on-stage with him!” ESC Board Chair, Maritza Dominguez Braswell explained.

“It’s a big deal for her,” said Ron, one of ESC’s parents, who described the impact on his daughter, Nehemiah “At first they were just scratching the bow on the string, but now we hear music… It’s really nice to see these kids have a skill. It’s had a big impact on our family.”

Partner with us to provide daily afterschool ensemble music to Denver’s under-served youth, and for once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. 

Click here to make donation!

20X20 for Colorado Gives Day

Help bring for 20 more kids into our after school program by January 1, 2020. Schedule your Colorado Gives Day gift early so you don’t forget!

It costs a minimum of $2,500 a year for a student to take weekly private lessons and participate in an orchestral or choral extracurricular organization.

What would happen if those costs disappeared for our city’s under-served communities? What would happen if everyone had access to the power of music?

El Sistema Colorado is making this a reality for Denver’s children.

We believe music has the power to change lives for the better by teaching perseverance, teamwork, and social responsibility through an ensemble setting. Our mission is to transform lives through music education by providing intensive in-school and after-school music programs.

Click here to make your gift today!

Denver convening sets stage for greater access to music education

By El Sistema Colorado Staff

El Sistema Colorado is excited to partner with the Colorado Symphony and the Denver Young Artists Orchestra to lead a discussion about access to quality music education for Denver’s at-risk youth, a goal that directly supports El Sistema Colorado’s mission. Team Tipton is facilitating the convening of dozens of Denver’s music education organizations, with funding support from Bonfils-Stanton Foundation and The Denver Foundation. The convening will take place October 3 & 4 with the goal of creating an action plan that addresses issues around music education in Denver, particularly inclusivity, diversity, and racial and economic equity.

Visit the Colorado Symphony website for an executive summary, survey results and research to-date.

We will post updates after this important gathering.

One Orchestra. One Community. One New Home.

El Sistema Colorado celebrates its first after-school community hub, a thriving music center, ensuring equal access.
“…because music is a right, not a privilege.” ~ Maestro José Antonio Abreu

From El Sistema Colorado Board and Staff 

We always knew we needed a central home.

One place to unite our orchestra. 

One place to build stronger community. 

One place for joyful music ~ a human right for all.

We have found that home in Denver’s Curtis Park neighborhood, thanks to a new partnership with the Denver Housing Authority. We are preparing it to launch programming in our new home to 75 students after school, Fall 2019.

El Sistema Colorado has served over 1,300 students since 2012. Now, this new, centralized community hub, located at 2980 Curtis Street, will welcome our current young musicians and families, as well as new ones. The center will be located one to three miles from our partnering Denver Public Schools: Garden Place Elementary Swansea Elementary and Bruce Randolph Middle and High School, which are located in the Globeville, Elyria-Swansea, Cole and Clayton neighborhoods. And there will be plenty of room to serve more kids, both from our current partner schools, and from within our new Curtis Park / Five Points neighborhood.

Thank you to everyone who has supported El Sistema Colorado from the beginning. We could not have done it without you.

El Sistema Colorado Community Music Center


Get involved! Donate! Volunteer! Contact info@elsistemacolorado.org

Student Spotlight: Melvin

Every summer, the top students from Sistema-inspired programs from across the country audition to be a part of the National El Sistema Youth Orchestra at the National Take a Stand Festival in Los Angeles. This summer, our first high school student was accepted and attended the 10-day event.

Student Spotlight: Melvin, age 15

How did you learn about the National Take a Stand Festival (NTASF)?
“I first learned about it from Ms. Bennett, my band instructor. She thought it was a great idea for me to apply. I knew absolutely nothing about it at first, I just knew that it was in California and that I would be out of town playing music. I had never traveled before; I mean, I had been to Mexico with family, but not by myself. I had always traveled on a bus, but never on an airplane.”

I was responsible for myself and had to advocate for myself in a lot of ways. I knew that I had to go to baggage claim, but I looked everywhere and I saw nothing — I was kind of still anxious from the flight. I’m very shy, so I really had to build up the courage to ask somebody, “Hey, where’s baggage claim? Can you lead me in that direction?”  

“The program had 140 kids from 28 different places all over the US and Puerto Rico. The biggest surprise was the diversity of the students. Usually in an orchestra we think of caucasian people, but I was really surprised by the amount of people of color and people my race (hispanic) or different races. It’s good to see people that you have something in common with. You can get more motivated to do music when you see people like you.”

“There were a lot of kids who were really dedicated to music, and many who were at a higher level than me. We were expected to know our rhythms and notes so we could work more on musical expression. When you start noticing how hard these pieces are, and realize that you actually are talented, you start noticing that music is for you and you think of doing it for life.”

“Before NTASF I would always hate being last chair. When I got to NTASF and was last chair, I realized I’d have to step up my game to try even harder, to try to reach them [other students skill level], and I’ve noticed that has made me a better musician.”

Final Thoughts
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Because of NTASF I really learned to enjoy the music and listen to my tone and listen to hear if I was sharp or flat. NTASF has really inspired me to try my hardest and dream even bigger. Last year I auditioned for a local orchestra and didn’t get in, but this year it’s a goal of mine to actually get on the waitlist. Because of NTASF that I know that I am capable of doing it.”