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To all our arts enthusiasts and advocates:  Check it out! Following is a summary by Bruce Richardson about a new book by Tricia Tunstall. Cheers! -Jennifer

How about an instrument and top and extensive music education for every poor child? This happens in Venezuela right now. Described as “a project of social action” that is not “exposure to the arts,” but “life change” through immersion in music and playing in an orchestra, not every so often, but every day.   And the program has swept the nation through broad and deep support. As one person says “there is no better way to build the life of a community than children playing together.” And the orchestras are terrific, the music enthralling.

Like many, you may not believe it, but observer after observer reports their amazement at this program and return to the U.S. and work on their own version. You can get a report on all this in Tricia Tunstall’s lively new book Changing Lives: Gustavo Dudamel, El Sistema, and The Transformative Power of Music (Norton, 2012). Much of this is old news by now and Gustavo Dudamel, El Sistema’s most famous graduate and in his second year as conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic is helping spread the word and start similar programs in the U.S.

OK, I have been a fan ever since I heard Jose Antonio Abreu, the founder of and philosopher of El Sistema speak in Denver. You don’t have to be a true believer, but I bet you will find this story inspiring and a stimulus to our efforts to make the arts central to daily life in Wyoming.

Bruce Richardson

Board Member, Wyoming Arts Council

Senior Lecturer in English, The University of Wyoming

Casper

Wyoming Arts Alliance

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