HOLA goes to London with the LA Phil!


HOLA Executive Director Tony Brown and Christine Witkowski, HOLA's Music & YOLA at HOLA Director, recently traveled to London to participate in this year's Take A Stand Symposium. Take A Stand is a partnership of Bard College, the Longy School of Music of Bard College and the Los Angeles Philharmonic that supports social change through music. The partnership’s annual symposium took place this year at the Barbican Centre during the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s first Barbican International Associate residency. “Future Play: Music Systems in the 21st Century” explored the impact and need for ensembles, venues and conservatories in today’s society and the crucial role they could play in our future cultural landscape. Tony and Christine participated with other members of the Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA) team in a workshop that focused on the YOLA program and how the El Sistema philosophy has been successfully adapted for the Los Angeles community. In Tony’s words: “This was a wonderful opportunity to engage with our partners at the LA Phil and to share the incredible work we are doing through the YOLA at HOLA program. This is very hard work and takes strong partnerships and an incredibly dedicated staff to foster lasting change.”

In addition to Tony and Christine, Raymond Chavez, a 9th grade YOLA at HOLA clarinet player, was chosen after a very rigorous selection process to join nine other YOLA students on a once in a life time trip to London. The long, bumpy flight to London was the first time many of the high school students flew on an airplane. The action packed trip included a visit to In Harmony, a London based El Sistema inspired program, and plenty of sightseeing. Raymond had this to say about his experience:

London was such a great experience for me. When we went to visit In Harmony, I met a wonderful boy named Korebe that made me understand how it feels to teach. I wrote in my journal “As of today I have been assured that teaching is not only to teach a student, but to know them as an individual, a friend, someone who can make a difference in this world."

The trip culminated in an open rehearsal with young musicians from the Barbican Young Orchestra from Tower Hamlets, Barking & Dagenham and Hackney and from the Centre for Young Musicians. The open rehearsal was led by Maestro Gustavo Dudamel!

Click on the following links for more coverage of the trip to London:

YOLA musicians featured on the cover of Southwest Airline's in-flight magazine
LA Phil blog post
LA Phil blog post
LA Phil blog post
YOLA visit to In Harmony
YOLA rides the tube

Los Angeles Times' Mark Swed writes about the young musicians in the "Critics Notebook"

April 13, 2013