Monday, June 21, 2010

Final Week: Inaugural Abreu Fellows Graduate

The inaugural class of Abreu Fellows celebrate their graduation outside the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA

After a whirlwind spring semester marked by two months in Venezuela and a month internship in Scotland, the inaugural class of Abreu Fellows held their graduation ceremony at New England Conservatory this past week.  We are excited to put into practice what we have learned during this incredible year and thank New England Conservatory, TED and FESNOJIV for investing in us, this program and the El Sistema movement throughout the US and world.

It has been an honor to share this year with such a diverse group of people, who are all passionate about music and its power to effect change in our youth and communities.  I've learned from each and everyone of them.  TED posted a Prize Report on our graduation, as well as reflections from the past year.  Here's where we'll be this coming year, leading El Sistema-inspired programs in cities across the country.
  • Dan Berkowitz – was hired as Program Manager at Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA), the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s initiative to establish youth orchestra programs in underserved communities throughout Los Angeles.
  • Lorrie Heagy – will launch a school-based El Sistema inspired program called Juneau, Alaska Music Matters (JAMM) at Glacier Valley Elementary where she will continue teaching as a music teacher and librarian.
  • Katie Wyatt – will be a founder and the Executive Director of KidZNotes, an El Sistema inspired in- and after-school program that provides orchestral music training in the poorest neighborhoods of Durham, North Carolina.
In my next blog posting, I'll describe next year's plans for JAMM and will continue using this blog as a place to share and document the work of the program.

As I pack up my last box headed for Alaska, I'd like to thank Irene Smalls for making my stay in Boston such a memorable one.  I met this incredible children's book author as my landlady, but said goodbye to her as a friend.  She autographed and gifted me a set of her books, which will bring joy to hundreds of school children in Juneau, Alaska when they find them on the library shelves at Glacier Valley Elementary School.  Thank you, Irene!

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