Aeolian Hall Musical Arts Association

I became aware of El Sistema Aeolian when I moved to London about a year ago. My partner is an avid musician, playing the clarinet, and introduced me to this organization. It provides musical instruments and music instruction to deserving young people who might not otherwise be able to afford the cost of instruments and teaching. It is part of a global network in over 80 countries, including Venezuela where it was founded in 1975. El Sistema Aeolian has been in operation since November 2011.

Because I was so hopeless at learning to play any kind of musical instrument as a child, I immediately felt an emotional bond with El Sistema. Fortunately I was in a position to donate a clarinet to the program. We were invited to attend one of the lessons and meet the young person who was chosen to receive the instrument. The family is from the Middle East.

We have since been invited to attend several concerts performed by El Sistema and were very pleased to listen to him playing. We guess he is about 12-14 years old. Initially he had extra difficulty as the new instrument arrived from the factory and was not set up properly, but eventually it was repaired and he is doing extremely well. A highlight was a recent concert with hundreds in the audience where he played a solo classical number, accompanied on piano by a noted music professor from Western University.

We attend many musical events at Aeolian Hall, and we certainly enjoy them, but attending an El Sistema event is particularly magical for me, when I listen to the progress that this student, and others, have made. Music is such a powerful force for good, in so many ways, and I have no doubt that this young musician will continue to develop and thrive. We will continue to joyously follow him in his musical journey as long as possible.

Of course, all this incredible benefit to the young musicians does not happen by magic. There are many dedicated adult musicians who volunteer their time in teaching, but also in teaching other important life skills, such as sharing, working together for a goal, and even preparing meals for the students. El Sistema Aeolian was selected to participate in some of the recent Juno Awards celebrations.

Without question, this program deserves financial support. Thanks for your consideration.

- William

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