Friday, February 19, 2010

El Sistema Celebrates 35 Years

We arrived in Caracas just in time to celebrate El Sistema's 35th year anniversary. Tonight's the big night! Dudamel conducts the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra and there are rumors we may be able to meet both Maestro Dudamel and Dr. Abreu! With all of this excitement, the fellows are still very grounded in our purpose here in Venezuela. We are here because of a wish Dr. Abreu made when he won the 2009 TED Prize:
"I wish that you help to create and document a special training program for 50 gifted young musicians passionate about their art and social justice and dedicated to bringing El Sistema to the United States and other countries."
With the accomplishments Jose Abreu has made in Venezuela, I have no doubt that his wish will come true. The Center for Social Action Through Music (pictured above) is a physical testimony of his work. FESNOJIV (El Sistema) created this building to provide quality space for youth music academic programs especially those at-risk. This impressive center has 94 rehearsal rooms and two performance halls - the Simón Bolívar Hall, which seats 1,100 and the Concert Hall N° 2 with a seating capacity of 400. The walls, floors and ceiling are soundproofed and rooms are built with flexibility in mind, so that a meeting room can quickly be transformed into a performance or rehearsal space.

Here's a slide show of the different spaces this beautiful center offers:

Rodrigo Guerrero, International Affairs Coordinator of FESNOJIV, gave us a tour of the center and shared Dr. Abreu's goal for expansion:

With six buildings like the center approved for other cities in Venezuela and 24 new nucleos scheduled to open next year, FESNOJIV is accomplishing Dr. Abreu's goal of providing 1 million students access to quality music experiences in their community.

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