Washington Heights pastor to launch music program targeting poor kids | NY Daily News

BY Heidi Evans

Photo Credit: Mariela Lombard

“From the minute a child is taught how to play an instrument, he’s no longer poor. He becomes a child in progress, heading for a professional level, who’ll later become a citizen” – Maestro Jose Abreu, founder of El Sistema music program.

Sometimes, all it takes is a violin to save a child from violence.

That unorthodox notion is at the heart of a charismatic Washington Heights pastor’s dream to bring a visionary global music program to northern Manhattan in the fall.

Known as “el Sistema” – or “the system,” it’s about saving children who live in poverty by teaching them to play or sing classical music in a youth orchestra.

The brainchild of economist and musician Jose Abreu, who started the first youth orchestra in 1975 in Venezuela, Sistema is essentially a social system that fights poverty.

Children as young as 2 years old begin to learn rhythm, and as they grow up and learn to play with their peers in an orchestra, they become part of a community outside the poverty that would otherwise destroy them.

“We are picking up on this dream that is now 36 years old to make a difference in the lives of children in Washington Heights,” said Pastor Barrie Lawless, who presides at Our Saviour’s Atonement Lutheran Church on Bennett Ave.

Lawless, a former musician from England who moved to New York six years ago, has teamed up with conductor Armando Chibras, who led el Sistema youth orchestras in Mexico.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2011/04/03/2011-04-03_power_of_music_wash_hts_pastor_to_launch_program_targeting_poor_kids.html

See below for the trailer for the film on El Sistema

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=276oR_tEmbs]

Check out their version of a Leonard Bernstein number.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yjCFnKuBJQ&feature=related]

For more info: el-sistema-film.com/

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