In just two weeks, I have been humbled by the generosity of so many people who have given their time and talents to help this program and its fellows be successful. Will Schmid and Remo Belli are among this amazing group of people. In many ways, their story encapsulates the collaborative energy behind the El Sistema USA initiative:
After one e-mail explaining to Will the El Sistema USA program, the Abreu Fellows now have a 40-instrument World Drumming set coming our way to Boston with curriculum to explore, experience and consider incorporating into future El Sistema initiatives in the US. Once I complete the fellowship in June, I will return to Juneau with these instruments and materials to put into the hands of children as part my program there.
Here’s how it all began:
This past summer, I had the incredible experience of taking Will Schmid’s World Music Drumming class (see photo) in Wisconsin with hundreds of educators across the country.
Will has developed a drumming ensemble curriculum in collaboration with Remo, Inc., which addresses national music standards while filling classrooms with joyous drumming and singing. His summer workshops are packed with drumming technique, repertoire and ensemble skills, as well as the infusion of recorder, dance and song I came away equipped with effective teaching techniques, confidence leading a drum ensemble and a community of newly formed friendships.
When I learned that I would be participating in a fellowship aimed at bringing El Sistema to the US, I immediately thought of Will Schmid’s World Music Drumming curriculum. The work Will and Remo have done embodies so much of El Sistema’s principles: joyful music making through ensemble, using complex repertoire and incorporating folk music from the Americas. This collaborative effort, which shares similar values as El Sistema, is an example of how meaningful work already done in the US can be an integral part of the future work we do. Together we will accomplish incredible opportunities for our kids.
Thank you, Will and Remo, for the work you have already done for kids and music education programs across the country through World Music Drumming. We look forward to future endeavors together!