New music program brings old-world knowledge

The Prince George Symphony Orchestra and the Prince George Conservatory of Music have partnered to provide a rare opportunity for elementary-school children to develop their musical skills from an early age.

Quinson elementary will see at least eight Grade 1 children, perhaps as many as two groups of eight, begin music lessons for one hour after school each day for the entire school year beginning in September.

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The program is called El Sistema, which began in Venezuela in 1975. The program has brought hundreds of thousands of students into international orchestras.

"Local music lovers had their first exposure to El Sistema this spring when young musicians nurtured within the project played with the PGSO," said Marnie Hamagami, PGSO's general manager. "Now it's time to make the joy of music available to students right here."

The Sistema PG students will be provided with violins, lessons, and snacks, absolutely free of charge for a year, added Hamagami. Jose Delgado-Guevara has been working on developing this program locally for a couple of years, Hamagami said.

The programs' teachers will be senior students from the Prince George Conservatory of Music who will volunteer their time. Delgado-Guevara said this will also give the senior students a chance to develop their skills while offering them hours of volunteerism that is part of School District 57's graduating requirements.

El Sistema provides music education with no barriers of income or background and the orchestral environment gives children a jump start and is a good example of community cooperation.

This project is provided by private donations, including a significant donation from Concept Design. It cost $500 for each child to participate in the program for the school year.

For more information or to make a contribution contact Hamagami at 778-983-0096.

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