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Sistema Aotearoa wraps its first year in a musical bow

Sistema Aotearoa wraps its first year in a musical bow

30 November, 2011

The children of Sistema Aotearoa attended a very special concert this afternoon – their own.

After just seven months of music lessons, 96 Sistema Aotearoa pupils, drawn from seven primary schools in Otara, gave their final concert of the year to an audience of approximately 600 at TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre, Manukau.

The concert was the culmination of hours of hard work and practise by the children and the Sistema Aotearoa tutor team, led by Programme Director Dr Joe Harrop.

“I’m proud of the children,” Dr Harrop said. “Many of the young people on stage had never seen a violin or cello seven months ago, and certainly none of them had ever played one. Now they’ve performed a concert in front of hundreds of people at a major venue; they’ve come a long way in such a short time. More importantly, you can see how their confidence has grown over that period. The El Sistema model is not only about producing great musicians, it’s also about equipping children with life skills that will serve them in the years to come.”

Family, friends and VIPs enjoyed a selection of pieces, some written specially for Sistema Aotearoa and others imported from Sistema programmes around the world. One of the children’s favourites, ‘The Open String Song’, was developed in Venezuela, translated into English and introduced to Otara earlier this year by tutors visiting from Sistema Scotland.

That spirit of collaboration is a mark of the El Sistema approach – Sistema Aotearoa is itself a partnership between Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) and the Ministry for Culture & Heritage.



The APO’s Chief Executive, Barbara Glaser, paid tribute to the many people and organisations that contributed to the success of the concert.

“First of all, I’d like to congratulate the children for putting on a great show. To perform this music in this hall to this many people is an achievement they will remember for the rest of their lives. Congratulations, too, to Joe Harrop and his fabulous team, who have worked tirelessly for the first seven months of Sistema Aotearoa.

“As well as our government funding, we’ve received much-appreciated donations from organisations and individuals – many of the instruments the children played today have been gifted or loaned to us, and we thank everyone for their generosity.

“Most of all I’d like to thank the people of Otara. An initiative like Sistema Aotearoa can only exist with the support of the community, and the impressive size of today’s audience is testament to how Otara has embraced this programme. We know the people who have travelled here to watch and listen are as proud of the children as we are.”

For more information about Sistema Aotearoa, see www.apo.co.nz/sistema_aotearoa.aspx

ENDS

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