Carnegie Hall’s Play USA

Carnegie Hall’s Play USA

This is OPUS’s second year participating in Carnegie Hall’s PlayUSA program, which has also supported OPUS with a grant of $20,000 annually for the last two years. As part of this program, I have gotten the opportunity to visit other music programs across the country for information-sharing and community-building.

This fall, I traveled to Chicago to meet with music leaders in education. My first stop was the West Point School of Music, a non-profit that promotes academic and personal success among urban youth through in-school, after-school and out of school music instruction and performance programs. The organization’s philosophy is based on relationships built on respect and results. West Point School of Music prepares their students for teaching roles by offering internal paid positions, which was reminiscent of my own experience with El Sistema, Venezuela’s renowned community-based music program.

I next visited the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, which teaches jazz, blues and improvisation, and where students lead their own unique learning experience. This organization uses music to inspire students to create critical thinking skills to nurture success. Chicago Jazz Philharmonic programs take place at VanderCook University, one of the best colleges in the country for the training of music educators.

Last year, I traveled to El Paso, Texas with PlayUSA to visit the inspiring community-based music program, Tocando. With each visit, I learn more and share successes of Homer OPUS with people from across the country.

I looking forward to the next musical adventure.

Abimael Melendez
Director, Homer OPUS