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Queens Corona Youth Music Program Runs 8/9-20


The Corona Youth Music Project (CYMP or Núcleo Corona) is part of a network of people to create social change and music development for children regardless of resources and hopes to transform this Queens neighborhood by establishing a special camp for hundreds of children this summer to use music to empower them to change their lives. The camp will be held at the Louis Armstrong Recreation Center on August 9th - 20th. It will culminate with a free concert on August 21 outside the Queens Museum of Art for the entire community. The camp is free.

"Music is a life-changing experience," says Alvaro F. Rodas, CYMP/Núcleo Corona project director and Abreu Fellow. "We are teaching music and empowering children to become productive citizens of change in an area where their schools are just too overcrowded and financially-strapped to help them."

The camp will start its inaugural year on August 9th with a children's choir along with educational programs, and serve the neighborhood by providing a safe, fun community camp for children to develop discipline, persistence and self-esteem through music to become productive valued members of society. In the future it will include a children's symphony orchestra.

"This tuition-free Camp will gather hundreds of children, ages 9-15 from the Corona neighborhood in Queens and surrounding areas. It will also include a parallel training workshop for 20-25 music teachers and children's chorus conductors from the area schools, teachers in El Sistema inspired programs and music education students," said Rodas. "Keep your ears and hearts open! Something big is about to happen in Corona."

The program is inspired by El Sistema, the public education program in Venezuela founded by José Antonio Abreu. "El Sistema has grown and become a network and CYMP/Núcleo Corona follows that plan," said Freddie Gershon, Chairman and CEO of Music Theatre International and CYMP/Núcleo Corona underwriter with his wife, Myrna. "It's not a method or philosophy. It's a network of people to create social change and development to underprivileged children. It has enlightened and enhanced the lives of children around the world, and we feel privileged to help bring it to the children of Queens."

CYMP/Núcleo Corona, will be the first El Sistema inspired program in Queens, New York. Corona will be an important part of expanding the El Sistema network, as a community that embraces music as a central part of its children's lives.

The inspiration for CYMP/Núcleo Corona originates in Venezuela, with José Antonio Abreu. In 1975, Abreu gathered a group of 11 young musicians and gave them a simple message: with their instruments they would change the world.

"I instantly became hooked on the Venezuelans' energy, their goodwill and the incredible results they achieved with their students," said Rodas "As we prepare for August for the camp and the final performance, the response in Queens from the parents, youth and children, and the Queens Museum of Art has been similar to the Venezuelan people and is priceless!"

Also part of the team that will mentor children and youth in the CYMP/Núcleo Corona, is Sanna Valvanne, a world-recognized children's choir conductor from Finland and the U.S., as music director. Some of the workshop topics will include introducing the principles, pedagogy, results and philosophy of the method, exercises for vocal production, exercises for improvisations, exercises for group dynamics and creating performances among others.

For more information on the Corona Youth Music Project/Núcleo Corona please visit

About the Corona Youth Music Project (CYMP or Núcleo Corona)

The project includes a number of intensive seminars and camps, in preparation for establishing the CYMP as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization within no more than 2 years. This núcleo will support at least one children's symphony orchestra and one choir, along with its educational program, and serve the neighborhood by providing a safe, fun place for children to develop discipline, persistence, and self-esteem through music, and become productive valued members of society.

Inspiration for CYMP/ Núcleo Corona

Twenty years after José Antonio Abreu first started working with children and introduced music into their lives in 1997, a group of Venezuelan musicians traveled to Guatemala for the first time. Their goal was to have Guatemala become part of Venezuela's musical movement, which had already grown to over 150 youth orchestras and was expanding to other Latin countries, such as Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Peru and Brazil. In Boston, New England Conservatory has partnered with the TED Organization to create the Abreu Fellows Program. The fellowship is the first initiative of El Sistema USA, a network that will enable El Sistema to grow in the US and benefit children and communities in the same way it has in Venezuela and Latin America for 35 years. Today, El Sistema, as it is known in English speaking countries, is creating attention across the United States in cities like Los Angeles, Baltimore, New York, Miami, Durham (NC) and Chicago. Currently Atlanta, Philadelphia and other US cities are initiating El Sistema's for their communities as well. "This is the start of a movement for the better of our society," said Rodas.

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