The OPYO family lost a beloved member on Sunday when alumna, Rebekah Warren, officially found her angel wings - although she had been using them for 19 years to bring her glowing spirit and infectious enthusiasm for all things good to to all those whom she graced with her presence.
While we're all poorer for her loss, let's be wiser, too...by opening up to the right people about the hurts we're hiding, so we may be healed and made whole again...so we may see that what seemed impossibly large is little more than a misconception...and that we may lead full-term lives of love, happiness, and contribution. Just image what Rebekah could have done with 70 more years...for herself, for us...for everyone.
The NY Philharmonic's Education Department has asked me to come back to the Apple to lead some workshops in their El Sistema Program.
Preparing for the workshops, I learned about the wonderful Venezuelan program - El Sistema - that is inspiring young people, most without resources, through music lessons and ensemble participation.
El S's most famous graduate is Gustavo Dudamel, now conductor of the LA Philharmonic. I watched a bunch of his videos on You Tube and found one that's perfect to close OPYO's progam on May 1.
Here it is: Vasquez' Conga del Fuego Nuevo: Come to the May 1 Concert to hear your OPYO play it! Dancing in the aisles encouraged!
Thank you so much for sharing your children to us as we make beautiful music together so that, in the process, we all grow both musically and personally.
Over the holidays, I've been reading about El Sistema, the Venezuelan music education miracle that is taking hold throughout the US. I started learning about El Sistema because I got a call from the NY Philharmonic Education Department asking me to lead a workshop for that orchestra's El Sistema inspired program, "Harmony." As I read about the core values of El Sistema, beautifully-articulated by conductor, Jose Luis Hernandez-Estrada, I realized he could have been speaking about OPYO when he said:
"Through orchestral practice, many young musicians come to envision their music-making as an opportunity to ascertain the value of their own voices well beyond the threads of musical interaction."
Ascertaining "the value of their own voices" is something we all know about - that confidence is key to learning and to a successful life. As Henry Ford put it, "If you think you can, or think you can't...you're right." And at OPYO, building your young musicians' confidence and self-image is equal in importance to playing the right notes. The smiles you saw on their faces after our Holiday concert was clear proof.
Jenny, Chari, Jesse, and I look forward to making music again with you at our first rehearsal on January 11. In the meantime, do re-visit the wonderful Holiday Concert you performed by enjoying Chair's wonderful photos on our website, and be sure to click on the Rehearsal & Concert tab so you can put our Spring dates into your calendar.
As we move into the new year, OPYO sends best wishes and heart-felt hopes that 2016 will be the Best Year Ever for you and for yours. See you soon!
Warmest Regards -David A. Barg