Here’s how music is changing lives for North Bay students in San Rafael’s Canal neighborhood, helping getting them into college

San Rafael, California (KGO) — They say music can change the world because it can change people.

“Music is my life. Music is everything to me. I love music,” said Abi Alvarado, who has been playing the oboe since he was seven years old. She is currently in her third year of high school.

“Cello, I love how it sounds,” adds fellow student Michel Sanchez.

“I started this program about 13 years ago with 15 students. We found that our canal neighborhood didn’t have an instrument program for toddlers,” says Enriching Lives Through Music, a music program known as ELM. explained Jane Kramer, founder and executive director of

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From humble beginnings, the program now consists of 150 children and three orchestras.

Students are given 10 hours of music instruction per week, including Saturdays. Most often in the program she stays for 10 years.

“My mother came here to give me a better opportunity, an opportunity she didn’t get,” Alvarado said.

The program brings together international artists, such as composer and conductor Giancarlo Castro Dadona, who received his music education through Venezuelan “El Sistema”, to bring about change in Venezuelan society through music education. increase.

“Any child can participate in ‘El Sistema’ and sing or play the violin as they please, and of course it’s all free,” he said.

ELM has a similar mission. If I had to put a price tag on this level of music education, it would be nearly $7,000 per student per year.

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In addition, seniors receive high school and college counseling.

“Last year we had six seniors, all of whom are currently attending four-year colleges. This year, we have seven seniors, all of whom are applying to four-year colleges,” Cramer revealed. .

“High school can be stressful when you face a lot of problems in school. I was.

ABC7 News was where the students were rehearsing for a special song called “Cultures” called “The Mix of the Culturas”. It combines traditional symphonic movements with Latin-style rhythms.

“We combined all Latin rhythms into a symphonic structure to create this six-minute piece,” explains Castro D’Addona.

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The songs they added are from their parents’ and grandparents’ hometowns.

Marian Gutierrez, also from the “El Sistema” program in Venezuela, helped with song selection.

“As an immigrant, when you are in another country, there are times in your life when you feel lonely and sometimes music is your partner, it’s your friend,” Gutierrez said.

Last weekend they poured their love of their culture into their music.

“What I want is for them to learn the habits of excellence and opportunities to focus and build community, take all of that into their lives, and translate it into what they want,” Kramer said. I got

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