El Sistema Santa Cruz/Pajaro Valley is an organization that fosters positive child development and promotes social change by expanding access to high-quality music instruction, free of charge, to students from historically excluded communities in Santa Cruz County.
We want to grow the Watsonville Youth Symphony that we started in March 2022. For ten years, El Sistema Santa Cruz has been reframing music education as a medium for increasing access to music countywide with a focus on South County.
Thanks to partnerships with school districts, foundations and community members, El Sistema has become a pre-orchestra program engaging over 1,000 students after school and during summer with daily group lessons, rehearsals and performances. With students graduating from their pre-orchestra program with the skills and qualifications required to perform in an orchestra, El Sistema started a youth symphony that reflects the full diversity of the community.
We now need your help to grow this newly formed symphony.
I call El Sistema my life. It’s in me and I can’t let it go. I don’t just love music, I adore it. I can make music out of anything I hear. I can make music on a computer or on anything in space. It’s easy to learn new things if you enjoy them. Jasmin, 5th grade: The music has made me love school and it has helped me. I think learning new stuff in school is like learning a new song. “If I am able to learn a new song, then maybe I can learn this.” That’s what I say to myself. When I play an instrument I play what I feel. I express myself. I think if I can play music a lot I can learn to be a doctor. I want to be a doctor, the kind of doctor that helps women have babies. I have learned to play music, so I think I could learn to be a doctor.
Rogelio, 5th grade