Creating Social Change Through Music
“Music has to be recognized as an … agent of social development in the highest sense, because it transmits the highest values — solidarity, harmony, mutual compassion. And it has the ability to unite an entire community and to express sublime feelings.”
YOLA at HOLA has taken Maestro Abreu’s philosophy and adapted it to the needs of our community. Building from 80 students the first year, YOLA at HOLA is now 220 strong. When the students join the program they make a serious commitment to the orchestra, dedicating 15 hours per week after school and on weekends to intensive music education and academic tutoring. The music education piece includes classes in solfège, large and small ensembles, choir, conducting and musicianship. As students progress, regardless of their age, they are tasked with mentoring other students. They take pride in their successes and serve as role models for the other students.
The impact of the program can be felt well beyond the orchestra room. In a community with limited resources, YOLA at HOLA has brought classical music into neighborhood centers and the homes of hundreds of families. When asked what they like most about the program, many of the students respond that they enjoy being a part of the orchestra and performing at such world renowned venues as Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. They love performing and many dream one day of becoming professional musicians and one even has his sights on becoming a conductor. But what comes out more often than not is the understanding that there is something much greater than just learning to play music. In the words of one student “[I]t’s not so much about being a great musician, but being an inspiring musician so I can improve my community with my music.”