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Classical Music Program Launched in East Austin

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Students from Philadelphia Youth Orquestra, an El Sistema-inspired program. Local groups are launching a similar program in Austin for Hispanic and Latino youth.

A new group is trying to generate more interest in classical music among Hispanic children. The Hispanic Alliance for the Performing Arts is launching Austin Soundwaves, with help from U.T. ’s College of Fine Arts and Teresa Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies.

The orchestral music program is based on El Sistema, a Venezuelan music program that's been copied around the world. Dr. Juan Sanchez, founder and board chair of the East Austin College Prep charter school, says Austin Soundwaves isn't just designed to help students develop careers in classical music.

“Students who develop their skills in music do academically very well. And also are more apt to stay in school and not drop out.” Sanchez told KUT News.

42 seventh and eighth-grade students currently enrolled in the program at East Austin College Prep. Sanchez says they hope to serve 50 more students by January, if they can raise another 150-thousand dollars.