Orchestra is taking shape and growing

TEAM WORK: Robert Brown, middle, and Cassius Taylor on right get to grips with the cello, Esekia Taito, left, looks on.
TEAM WORK: Robert Brown, middle, and Cassius Taylor on right get to grips with the cello, Esekia Taito, left, looks on.

The big music programme for little kids is growing up.

That's the word from Sistema Aotearoa director Dr Joe Harrop.

"The dream in a lot of ways has been realised, to this point we've had a successful trial."

The programme, set up in 2011, exposes Otara primary school children to music and is based on the Venezuelan El Sistema model started 38 years ago.

Two years on, the programme is flourishing with the support of parents, donations, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and funding from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage.

It is a story that strikes a chord with most people, says the man affectionately known as Dr Joe.

Following a recent story on TVNZ's Sunday programme more than 20 pre-loved violins from as far as Southland have found their way to Mr Harrop's Otara office.

"We will have a full string orchestra by the end of this year and next year will be wind, brass and percussion.

Dr Harrop's hopes are buoyed by a recent University of Auckland report which revealed that students of the Sistema system are performing on orchestral string instruments at a higher level than would normally be expected of children in the 6 to 8 year age group.

"For me as a director it's important that we're put under the microscope with regards to our music, so when the report came out we got some pleasing results and excellent recommendations."

Manukau Courier