October 12, 2016

El Sistema is an orchestra that takes children from some of our inner city schools, matches them with an instrument based on their talents and desires, teaches them how to play their instrument, and then gives them their own instrument to keep. But truly, El Sistema is about so much more than just training these children and youth to become musicians. El Sistema is about giving them opportunities and helping them to see the impact they can have in the world.

This Saturday they will be at Memorial Stadium on the field with the Pride of Oklahoma for halftime at the OU/Kansas State game. The OU band will be hosting them for breakfast and they will get a tour of the campus. How much fun is that? In addition, some members of the St. Luke’s family of faith were inspired by El Sistema and created a way for any parent who wanted to watch their children at halftime to receive free tickets to the game. Think of all the opportunities and encouragement that these children are receiving!

I couldn’t help but think back to the time that I moved from Ohio to Oklahoma. I was entering the 10th grade and unbeknownst to me, my band director from Ohio, Mr. Stemple, tracked down the phone number of my new band director in Oklahoma, Mr. Goodner, and called him to tell him about me. Not only that, Mr. Goodner made a point to tell me that Mr. Stemple had really bragged on me as a clarinet and bassoon player (much more than I deserved). It really made a difference for me to have that kind of encouragement. Mr. Stemple opened the door for me at my new school at a time when I was really missing all my friends back home. Mr. Goodner welcomed me into the new program which helped me to find new friends at my new home.

Who is someone who encouraged you or gave you opportunities? More importantly, who are you encouraging?