00 days
00 hr
00 min
00 sec

El Sistema Santa Cruz/Pajaro Valley

Organization Mission

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.

The Big Idea 2023:
Watsonville Youth Symphony

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