This evening I will hop a flight to Los Angeles to participate in the Take a Stand symposium with the LA Philharmonic. The symposium will “bring together leaders, teachers, and key stakeholders from around the world with a vested interest in the El Sistema movement and progressive practices in music education.” I can’t wait to share with all of you the incredible things I hear, learn, and see this week. Be on the lookout for upcoming posts with lots of great photos – including, no matter what it takes, a selfie with Gustavo Dudamel. I will not leave LA without a #Dudamelfie.

I am proud to say that Kidznotes will be well represented in LA this week. I mentioned last week that Marcus Gee, a cellist and rising ninth grader, was selected to perform as part of the Take a Stand Festival Orchestra. Marcus is out there already, no doubt loving every minute of this incredible experience.

In addition to Marcus and myself, two Kidznotes teaching artists will be attending the symposium, both of whom were awarded scholarships for the week. One of them is Rosendo Peña, percussion teacher extraordinaire. I had a moment at camp today (they are happening more often than I can count) when I thought to myself, “Is this really my job?” I was observing Rosendo’s percussion students and was amazed by what they had learned in just four short days. A small percussion ensemble of four students had learned to play La Bamba on marimba and drums. It was beautiful, and they took such pride in showing me what they had learned. I can’t wait to see the ways in which Rosendo is able to push them even further after we come back from LA.

California, here we come!