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The Santa Cruz Education Foundation is pleased to announce the receipt of a $15,000 grant from the Community Foundation Santa Cruz County to support the expansion of high quality music instruction through our program, El Sistema Santa Cruz.

Currently hosted at Gault Elementary School, the program has entered its second full year of intensive after school instrumental and vocal instruction. Modeled on the world-famous El Sistema national music education program of Venezuela, the program creates social change through the collaboration of ensemble music performance and provides educational benefits through the impact of intensive early music instruction on brain development. While we hold high expectations for our young musicians, the daily experience is filled with joy and fun as they explore the world of music with their classmates, building close friendships along the way.

Students meet for 90 minutes four days per week for vocal and instrumental instruction, taught in small groups and larger ensembles. Second graders are now playing violin, cello, clarinets as well as continuing with recorders and Orff instruments. Kindergartners will begin with an immersion session in the Spring. This year “ambassador” families from Bay View, DeLaveaga and Westlake Elementary schools will join the program to collaborate with the Santa Cruz Education Foundation in developing a sustainable expansion strategy to serve more students.

The grant from the Community Foundation was made possible by contributors to Cecil’s Fund and the Anonymous Fund. We are deeply grateful to these donors and the board of the Community Foundation for their support.