“El Sistema” Airs

“…Nothing less than a miracle … the future of music for the whole world.”  These heady words of praise from the leader of the Berlin Philharmonic appeared in the London Observer Magazine on July 29, 2007.  The praise was for “El Sistema”, the program illuminating the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela.  The orchestra’s conductor, Gustavo Dudamel, who achieved this honor at age 18, was educated through El Sistema.  The El Sistema program provides free, early access to music education to all Venezuelan children, particularly those from poor families, empowering them to learn in an environment with their peers.  The exuberant Dudamel began his love affair with music at the age of 4, and was playing violin at age 10.  His talent was recognized and nurtured through El Sistema.  Currently, Dudamel enraptures audiences as principal conductor at Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in Sweden, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in California.

Passing of a New Law in Prince William County, Virginia

As the County meeting rooms overflowed with worried residents in the hot, angry Virginia night, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors passed its controversial anti-immigration ordinance.  The legislation targeted undocumented immigrants by prohibiting their access to public services and increasing immigration enforcement by local police.  The resolution was fiercely contested in a lengthy public battle, which was studied in the documentary 9500 Liberty (www.9500Liberty.com).  As quoted in the Washington Post, residents were deeply concerned about the law:  “How are we supposed to survive here?” asked Gregorio Calderón, a legal US resident from El Salvador. “They’re going to pull me over just for being Hispanic.” (Image by WashingtonPost.com)