September 20, 2012
The Harmony Program is coming to Washington Heights!
The United Palace of Cultural Arts, the first dedicated space for arts and cultural programs in Washington Heights, was founded on the commitment to use the arts as a means to unite and uplift young people in this diverse community. As UPCA Director of Programming, Mike Fitelson, explains, “Our motto is, ‘This is where art transforms lives.’”
It’s no surprise, then, that one of the first priorities for UPCA organizers was to welcome to the space a program inspired by Venezuela’s world renowned youth orchestra system, “El Sistema,” in an effort to introduce neighborhood children to the many benefits of music-making.
Enter the Harmony Program.
“The music is actually just the hook. … You’re really trying to mold citizens out of these kids. You’re teaching them the confidence, the self-esteem, and the camaraderie that will help them become high-achieving individuals,” says Fitelson, “and that’s what all of the programs here should do.”
“The music is actually just the hook. You’re really trying to mold citizens out of these kids. You’re teaching them the confidence, the self-esteem, and the camaraderie that will help them become high-achieving individuals…”
The partnership between the Harmony Program and the United Palace officially began last Thursday at Harmony’s orientation and instrument demonstration, an annual event where teachers share their instruments with prospective students, and the students make informed choices about which one they want to study with the Harmony Program. Classes start in the coming weeks.
We’re so proud of the group of teachers working with us this year at the UPCA, and for the opportunity to be a part of this valuable addition to the Washington Heights community. Stay tuned for more updates on the Harmony Program at the United Palace, and read more about last Thursday’s event at the UPCA’s website.
February 28, 2012
On Friday night, the PBS NewsHour ran a 10-minute segment on the Harmony Program — including interviews with students, parents, teachers, and administrators — to demonstrate how Harmony is using classical music instruction to help children realize their strengths, talents, and potential. The piece culminates with the children’s performance under the direction of Maestro Plácido Domingo at this year’s annual gala in January.