by Sevi Matsakidou Communications Manager, El Sistema Greece
El Sistema Greece (ESG) was born in 2016 as a project that supports refugee communities through music. We teach violin, viola, cello, French horn, trumpet, percussion, choir and music theory to students aged 6-26, as well as music initiation for the youngest students. In addition to our El Sistema Greece Youth Orchestra, we now have small orchestras in each of the three ESG nucleos in Athens. We have frequent concerts in public spaces, often in the biggest cultural center in Athens, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center.
This year, ESG began to work more with adults. We offered a two-day seminar for music educators, drama educators, teachers and any practitioner working with young children who would like to learn how to introduce them to music.
We have also formed a partnership with the first Greek “street paper,” called Shedia. (Street papers are magazines sold by homeless or poor people and produced to support these populations and strengthen social networks within homeless communities.) Through this partnership, we have formed an adult choir. Most of the members are either homeless or coming from vulnerable backgrounds. Selling the magazine in the region of Athens has helped them to change their lives. Now, singing together makes their voices stronger and gives them the opportunity to discover themselves as artists.
In addition, in collaboration with the artist Janet Ann Lines, we started the Bundles Project, unrelated to music but powerful in community-building. This is a community workshop dedicated to all the mothers of El Sistema Greece at Skaramagas Refugee Camp. The participants make sticks from clay, wrapping and fastening them into bundles using different kinds of materials. The idea of this project is to create a space to make together, share ideas and create a sense of community.
Another initiative for adults is our Lullaby Project, a once-a-year project in collaboration with Carnegie Hall, to help pregnant women write lullabies to their unborn children.
Our ultimate goal is to bring people together no matter their origin, language, or religion. Everyone has a story to share through music. Everyone has a story to learn through music. El Sistema Greece follows each story, trying to have a positive impact.
Visitors, volunteers, and potential supporters are always welcome! Send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org.