El Sistema Lehigh Valley’s Fellowship of the Strings takes home 3 Awards!

Date: Jun 03, 2019

On June 1, 2019, the El Sistema Lehigh Valley's Fellowship of the Strings ensemble competed in their first ever Music in the Parks Festival. This Festival consisted of an adjudicated performance early the morning, followed by a fun day at Dorney Park, and then, a VERY exciting awards ceremony!

After intense orchestral and choral instruction, academic tutoring, and after-school snacks, a group of 16 students from El Sistema Lehigh Valley (ESLV) were prepared to enter the Music in the Parks Festival at Northeast Middle School in Bethlehem on Saturday, June 1st. Led by fearless Program Manager Kaylee Santanello, the program’s advanced orchestra, The Fellowship of The Strings, performed the overture to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by Felix Mendelssohn, arranged by Ron De Grandis, and “Beethoven in Blue Jeans,” a medley of music by Ludwig van Beethoven, arranged by Michael Hopkins.

They competed against groups from all over the Lehigh Valley and some from as far away as New York and Connecticut. This event was marked with not one, but three different awards in the form of trophies that the students got to take home. They received the highest rating from the four judges, Superior, the Overall Orchestra Award, and were the only group to receive the Esprit de Corps Award for the group that showed the highest level of professionalism during the festival performances. The only group to receive three awards, the ESLV students left knowing that all their personal practice and diligence had paid off. Now, having just wrapped their 2018-2019 season with their Spring Concert at Miller Symphony Hall on Thursday, June 6th, they are excited and energized to begin their next season in the fall. Music in The Parks was a huge success for The Fellowship of the Strings, because it was their first time performing in a competitive music festival, and they left with high honors.

We are very proud of our hard working El Sistema students and staff who made these awards possible.

Members include: Briana Gonzalez, Brianna Herrera, Antonella Garcia, Gabriel Medina, Julio Bravo, Ayeika Cruz, Vanessa Belony, Aiden Jimenez, Jeremy Valdez, Jasson Benitez, Liana Mendez, Saige Kauffman, Deyanira Rodriguez, Aridni Bautista, Goten Rodriguez, and Sharon Martua


El Sistema Lehigh Valley is a program of the Allentown Symphony Association that brings “underserved and special needs youth a free opportunity to develop life skills learned by participating in high-quality daily music instruction, large ensemble experience and performances, and academic tutoring within a safe and nurturing environment” at three schools in the Allentown School District: Roosevelt Elementary School, South Mountain Middle School, and Raub Middle School. ESLV provides children who usually lack the opportunity to receive arts education with the tools to learn the responsibility and discipline it takes to learn how to play and care for an instrument. The participatory environment is conducive to individual and group creativity, and ESLV also provides academic tutoring, ensuring students are confident in the classroom as well as on stage.

To support El Sistema Lehigh Valley, please contact Geoffrey Harrington, Development Director, at 610.432.7961 ext. 207, or reach him by email at gharrington@allentownsymphony.org.

To learn more or enroll your child in El Sistema Lehigh Valley, please contact Kaylee Santanello, Program Manager of El Sistema Lehigh Valley at 610.432.7961 ext. 206, or by email at ksantanello@allentownsymphony.org.