Take a Stand’s Professional Development Series Comes to Philadelphia

Take a Stand’s Professional Development Series Comes to Philadelphia


Friday and Saturday, Sister Cities GirlChoir hosts Take a Stand at local schools for El Sistema inspired music programs


PHILADELPHIA—September 25, 2012— On Friday, September 28 and Saturday, September 29, Take a Stand will present two workshops designed to enhance the quality of teaching and learning within the Sistema movement in the United States. Hosted by El Sistema-inspired programs in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, this series combines Longy School of Music of Bard College’s capacity for teacher development with the local expertise to tackle the critical issue of student engagement in the classroom.  Together they seek to change the face of music education in the United States.

Here in Philadelphia, the series will be hosted by Sister Cities Girlchoir, an El Sistema-inspired music project for social change initiative powered by the Girl Effect.  This pilot program was launched earlier this month, with fifth through eighth grade girls from three sites in Camden and Philadelphia. The greater mission of the Sister Cities Girlchoir is to build communities of music makers that empower girls to occupy their unique position to create a better world.

El Sistema educators will gather for two days; on Friday at Memphis Street Academy and on Saturday at First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School. There they will learn from Series Guest Artist, Lorrie Heagy and each other, the tools for student engagement in the El Sistema classroom. Lorrie Heagy is one of El Sistema’s most sought after teacher trainers. Drawing on brain-based principles, Lorrie focuses her lessons on promoting student engagement incorporating use of story, movement, relevance, and balance of novelty and structure.  Emphasizing a proactive and developmentally-appropriate approach to teaching, sessions equip participants with teaching tools proven to build success in the classroom.  These tools will be applied in different settings throughout the series to meet the specific needs of programs.

“Classical music no longer exists only in concert halls and conservatories — it has become a powerful agent of social change, inspiring children, families, and communities to realize their potential and break the cycle of poverty,” says Alysia Lee, Founder of Sister Cities GirlChoir. “We are very proud of the work we are doing with young women from Camden and Philadelphia and are encouraged by how we see the power of music positively impacting and changing the lives of these women,” continued Lee.

The powerful message of El Sistema—Venezuela’s revolutionary music education program—is spreading across the United States and igniting a movement that engages thousands of children and families in making music and community building. This Friday and Saturday as Sister Cities GirlChoir hosts Take a Stand for two El Sistema inspired programs, there is a unique opportunity to connect with regional stakeholders and the movement as a whole. The programs this Friday and Saturday are will be held at the following locations:


Friday, September 28:  3:30 – 6:30 pm

Memphis Street Academy Charter School

2950 Memphis Street, Philadelphia, PA  19134 (215) 291.4709


Saturday, September 29:  9:00 – 4:00 pm

First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School

4300 Tacony Street, Philadelphia, PA  19124 ((215) 743.3100


For additional information, please contact Alysia Lee at 215-495-2290.

Media Contacts:

Katie Kennedy





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