The World Ensemble has always been about building cross-cultural bridges between Sistema-inspired programs, leaders and teaching artists. But we’ve decided we want to do more to help students connect across cultures—after all, young people are the foundation of Sistema; they are our entire purpose! So we created the World Ensemble Ambassadors network. This initiative to serve two purposes:
(1) To connect students in global El Sistema-inspired programs with one another, so they can share in the mutual struggle and fun of learning a musical instrument, support each other, and develop a sense of belonging and an appreciation for other cultures.
(2) To help the World Ensemble collect news from Sistema-inspired programs.
The initiative began this year with the recruitment of the first group of Ambassadors. In future years, they plan to open the application process to all Sistema-inspired programs, but because this first year is a trial/pilot, they reached out to specific programs that have worked with them in the past on other projects. They requested applications from young musicians, ages 13-20, who play an instrument (or sing) in an ensemble, and who understand the value of communication and teamwork. Another requirement was that WE Ambassadors have access to e-mail and social media platforms, either personally or through their programs. In this initial year, they asked that students be fluent in either English or Spanish.
In return, they will provide each Ambassador with six hours of support in the form of instrumental (or other music) lessons from renowned musicians or academic and professional advising.
Linet Otieno and Stephen Ongoma were chosen from hundreds of participants as 2019 Ambassadors. We look forward to hearing all about their experience in a future post.