A bright and motivated viola player who has participated in the Paterson Music Project (PMP) for four years, Hector Otero, 12, has been accepted into the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s National Take a Stand Festival Junior String Ensemble, an opportunity specifically for younger musicians and open to only 36 string players aged 12-15 from across the country. Hector has proven that his growth and ambition show no signs of stopping: in addition to practicing with PMP three times per week, he serves as a Junior Teaching Assistant, assisting and teaching younger students in grades 2-5 on days he does not have class. Hector also participates in Montclair State University John J. Cali School of Music’s preparatory program on Saturdays, an honor which only eight PMP students have received.
Says Hector, “I want to be a doctor some day. I see that there are a lot of people that need help across the country and I want to help. But my favorite musical memory is performing with PMP at NJPAC. It brought us lots of emotion to play together on stage.” As an ambassador for PMP and his community, Hector will travel to Los Angeles and Aliso Viejo, CA July 5-15 to participate in the event sponsored by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
The National Take a Stand Festival is an opportunity for students from El Sistema-inspired and aligned programs throughout the United States to perform as part of a top-tier national youth orchestra. All students will have the opportunity to learn from a world-class artist faculty and to rehearse and perform at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. The National Take a Stand Festival is a free program: travel, lodging, meals, and programming are provided at no cost for all participating musicians. By offering young people the opportunity to learn from exceptional musicians, including world-renowned conductors and guest artists, become ambassadors of their programs, and engage with young people from diverse regions and backgrounds, the orchestra aims to develop a model for excellence and a national community of citizen musicians from historically excluded populations in the United States. Students will not only have access to top artistic and educational resources, but experience some of the world’s finest learning institutions and concert venues.
Based in Paterson, New Jersey, the Paterson Music Project (PMP) is an El Sistema-inspired program of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts that uses music as a vehicle for social change by empowering and inspiring children through the community experience of ensemble learning and playing. PMP provides intensive, low-tuition musical training to students throughout Paterson after school. Students study a primary instrument (violin, cello, viola, bass, clarinet, flute, trumpet, or percussion) and participate in ensemble practice and instrumental sectionals. Students perform frequently for the school and community. PMP also offers a Saturday Community Music Program which includes a city-wide orchestra, intergenerational choir, and an Afro-Fusion percussion ensemble. PMP now serves almost 300 students in grades 1-8 from five Paterson Public Schools including the Community Charter School of Paterson, School 1, School 26, School 15, and Norman S. Weir Elementary School.