FVO bringing youth program to Aurora
By Denise Crosby firstname.lastname@example.org March 12, 2013 4:32PM
Jonathan Hauser is president of the Fox Valley Orchestra.
Want to help?
For more information on how to support the el Sistema program in the Fox Valley, call 630-891-2525 or e-mail email@example.com.
Updated: April 14, 2013 6:03AM
Almost from its 2009 inception — when it rose from the ashes of a former community symphony that had lost momentum following 9/11 — Fox Valley Orchestra had a dream: To create a local youth group that would rival any program worldwide.
The FVO has begun turning that dream into reality by forming a children’s orchestra modeled after a program that is, indeed, global in popularity and prestige.
El Sistema, created for at-risk kids, has swept through Venezuela over the past 20 years and is so successful, it’s being replicated all across the United States, including Chicago. The program has not only brought music instruction into the lives of more than 800,000 poverty stricken children in this South American country, it is credited with helping transform the nation.
And there’s no reason that model can’t be used here in Aurora, says FVO President Jonathan Hauser.
Fox Valley Orchestra is funding El Sistema at Smith Elementary School in the West Aurora School District, with the assistance of private donors and Communities in Schools. Teachers are drawn from a rich talent pool in the Fox Valley, he said. FVO will supply and maintain all instruments, working with children at no cost in grades one through five.
While the project will kick off with Smith’s after-school program, Hauser says the plan is to expand it in the near future to many more local schools.
The mission of El Sistema is to develop a sense of community among its members and their families in order to enrich lives through music, regardless of economic barriers. The skill and discipline that develops with regular practice is unique and immensely rewarding, Hauser noted.
“Music does so much to build character and enrich lives at all levels. Hopefully these students continue their love of playing long after they leave the program,” he said.
For the immediate future, the young musicians focus on instruments in the string family. But before even picking up an instrument, they will receive a curriculum of general music instruction that will include working with kazoos, recorders and other simple instruments. The program starts off one day a week and hopefully will expand to four days.
Immersion, says Hauser, is a key component. Students will begin the program in about two weeks, with the goal eventually to have students practice throughout the 28-week school year and a six-week summer program.
While FVO leaders are excited about the upstart program, Hauser insists its success will depend upon many more participants and funding sources. He and other supporters are actively seeking more partners in this venture so it can be expanded to other schools. The idea is to reach as many of this area’s at-risk kids as possible.
For more information on how to support the program , call 630-891-2525 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.