Message from the Director
It is with great pride and enthusiasm that we announce the creation of Encore! Sistema Quebec/Programme musical Encore!Sistema Québec; Quebec’s first and only independent organization exclusively dedicated to delivering El Sistema – inspired programs to Quebec’s children and youth.
Encore!Sistema’s design aims to meet social objectives and serves as a direct solution to problems such as bullying and violence. Through Encore!Sistema we aspire to support teachers, inspire administrators, engage parents and families, build communities, sustain partners and help students achieve their full potential.
February 2018 — Encore!Sistema is proud to feature our Kahnawake Survival School program in this month’s update. The KSS program is for youth in grades 7-11 and includes both an after-school wind program and — new this year — a lunchtime ukulele and guitar club. Each activity meets 2 days per week, for 2 hours per day.
Under the guidance of head teacher Gabby Smith and tutor Tehoniatarahthe Diabo (guitar, bass), students in the lunchtime ukulele and guitar club work in small groups to develop instrumental technique and learn music fundamentals. Many bring in songs which they are interested in learning. Says Gabby Smith, “We have covered many elements of theory and harmony: exploring ideas of groove and different rhythmic patterns on the ukulele is a fun way to approach learning music theory. Most recently, we have been re-writing the words to Smashmouth’s All Star, and students can play all the chords on the ukuleles with many different strumming patterns. This lunchtime program has been a great way to learn about musical notions used on the wind instruments through a different musical genre.”
The after-school program often sees the same students as at lunchtime but on their wind instruments. Through repertoire such as Chameleon, by Herbie Hancock, and The Tempest, students are learning to play complex syncopations, exploring jazz grooves, and learning to layer phrasing, dynamics, and multiple melodies in a single piece. Says Gabby Smith, “We are really beginning to understand the need to breathe together, and to listen to all the different lines playing at once, as well as focus on sound quality.”
The Encore!Sistema program at KSS reaches approximately 10% of the student population weekly. According to one student, the music program is part of what makes him continue to come to school. Says another, “It feels like family.”
Our board of directors, staff and team of tutors and teachers are passionate about music, children and education and are strong believers in the transformative effects produced when those elements are combined under the guidance of caring professionals.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our supporters, donors and sponsors for their tremendous dedication, trust and support.
I invite you all to join me in this musical journey to witness the transformation and discover a world of hope and wonder through the achievements of our participating students. Please sign up to receive our newsletter, come to our concerts and follow us on Facebook.
Looking forward to staying connected with all of you.
Theodora Stathopoulos, Program Director, Founder and Chair of the Board