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As part of the recent Take a Stand Symposium hosted by the LA Philharmonic, Bard College and Longy School of Music of Bard College, two YOLA at HOLA student musicians were selected to represent HOLA in the Leadership Forum for Young Musicians. The three-day event brought together 24 students from 13 El Sistema inspired programs in 9 states to take part in an intensive leadership seminar. Deanne and Macy are both in the 7th grade and have been participating in the YOLA at HOLA program since it first started four years ago. The girls are involved as leaders in the program and were excited to attend the Symposium to learn how to more effectively lead their peers. They were paired with partners from other programs, one from San Rafael, CA and one from a small town in Florida. They spent the three days getting to know each other, collaborating, and eventually playing music together.

The forum consisted of a variety of activities meant to teach and develop the basics of being a leader, and working as a group and as a community. The central activity was choosing 10 words to describe what makes an effective El Sistema leader. Each student chose one word and explained why they chose it. The leadership students then presented their findings to the adults in attendance on the final day of the Symposium. Macy chose “good listener” as her quality because a strong leader can compile their fellow students’ ideas into one coherent thought that everyone can understand. Deanne chose “strong” as her quality because a good leader should have the strength to persevere when others try to discourage them.

The girls had a great time at the conference and loved having the opportunity to meet their El Sistema peers from around the country. They learned that it’s important to share your ideas because there is always someone out there who will benefit from hearing them. Their favorite part of the Symposium was having the opportunity to play in an orchestra with their partners, new friends, and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela.

The goal of the forum was for the students to help to create a leadership philosophy for students in El Sistema inspired programs and we’re proud of Macy and Deanne for representing HOLA!



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