Friday, March 14, 2008

Inspiration Despite the Flaws

Nick and I began talking about Scrollworks in August of 2007. At the end of that month we saw the video of the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra at the Proms. I have Nick's email response posted above my computer screen: "It can happen here."

Like anything, I'm sure El Sistema is not perfect. I'm sure Jose Abreu has flaws. I know 'Tocar y Luchar' presents the best possible view of the program. Some of the articles I have read pointed out Abreu's dictatorial personality and that the most talented children are taken from their families to give them access to the best instruction.

However, that does not mean we cannot take inspiration from El Sistema and Mr. Abreu, or implement the best and most applicable aspects of the program. And the 'Tocar' documentary is a moving way to illustrate what we would like to accomplish.

Details on El Sistema are difficult to come by. Many who are trying to start similar programs have gone to Venezuela to see it in action. But the program that currently serves a quarter million children cannot resemble the program that began with a handful of children in a garage 30 years ago.

We continue to be inspired by the persistence and the results. But we are not foolish enough to think that our efforts should exactly copy theirs to succeed. In fact, the core aspects of our vision is totally different. It will be exciting to see our documentary in 30 years!

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