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Massachusetts First State To Fund Music Education Inspired By El Sistema
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Massachusetts Becomes First State To Fund Music Education Inspired By El Sistema

BOSTON — At the same time that school music programs across the country are being downsized due to budget cuts, there’s one intensive music-education program that’s growing.

And now Massachusetts has become the first state in the country to set aside funding for the Venezuelan-born effort known as El Sistema.

A Musical Transformation

The announcement was made official at an event Monday organized by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Young musicians from ensembles around the state gathered at Artists for Humanity in Boston’s South End.

Wearing a black knit cap with a black suit and tie, 16-year-old Jerannchris Rivera Heredia caressed his trumpet with confidence — like he’s played for years. But it’s been less than two. Now the young musician says being the band’s brass captain at Springfield High School of Science and Technology has changed his life.

When I asked how, Rivera Heredia admitted, “I didn’t really want to go to school much. I always did bad in my classes. I didn’t really pay attention.”

Rivera Heredia credits his turnaround to his group’s director, Gary Bernice.

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