Paterson Music Project Blog: Voices of the Silk City by Danielle Lefebvre | May 2019
Last weekend, 31 students from the Paterson Music Project boarded a bus bound for Princeton University where we met with the El Sistema New Jersey Alliance (ESNJA) as well as programs from New York and Philadelphia. There were nearly 300 students in attendance. As students took their seats in the orchestra, old friends from ESNJA Camp and NJPAC concerts sparked excited conversations. For some students, it was their first time at an ESNJA event and they quickly began to meet new people. Once everyone settled in, the students rehearsed four pieces for orchestra and choir. After rehearsal, our students were given the opportunity to meet world-renowned conductor, Gustavo Dudamel! Students from each program were given a chance to interview him. They asked questions on topics from his musical career to inspirations, techniques, and the challenges of being a conductor. Dudamel then enthusiastically listened to the orchestra perform a few songs and gave his praise on their abilities and hard work. Students then went to lunch and sectionals before heading across the beautiful Princeton University Campus to Richardson Auditorium for a public concert. The ESNJA orchestra of 300 students took every inch of stage space – including the first four rows of audience seating! We ended our day on a high note with an amazing collaborative concert, said our goodbyes, and parted ways until next time. The Alliance brings us together through music and challenges us to be our best, all while creating incredible memories with new friends. Now the countdown begins for ESNJA Summer Camp at Princeton-Blairstown Center!