Sistema Kingston –
Powerful Partnerships

El Sistema founder Jose Antonio Abreu said “Teach children the beauty of music, and music will teach them the beauty of life.” Queen’s Community Music, in partnership with Joe’s M.I.L.L. and First Avenue Public School (Limestone District School Board), is excited to launch Sistema Kingston, an intensive after school music program for at-risk children that focuses on positive social change through the pursuit of musical excellence. Through free, group centered music instruction, Sistema Kingston will emphasize inclusivity and teamwork, build personal persistence, and foster creativity and personal responsibility in all of its activities. Using the Venezuelan El Sistema as its model, Sistema Kingston aspires to bring social change to inspire children to reach their full potential as students, musicians and citizens. Sistema Kingston embraces the five principles of Venezuelan El Sistema

5 Principles

  • Social Change – social transformation through the pursuit of musical excellence. One happens through the other and neither is prioritized at the expense of the other.
  • Ensembles – The focus is on the group experience (orchestral/choral) and working toward a common goal. Peer mentoring is integral to the experience.
  • FrequencyEl Sistema ensembles meet multiple times every week for multiple hours at a time over extended periods.
  • AccessibilityEl Sistema programs are free and inclusive to all.
  • ConnectivityEl Sistema programs foster connectivity between students, teachers and families to build stronger communities. El Sistema programs are linked at the community, regional and national levels, forming a cohesive network of services, resource sharing collaborative opportunities and advocacy in support of each other.

How will it work

In its first year, Sistema Kingston will be housed at First Avenue Public School, and will be open to 20 students from grades 2-4. Highly qualified instructors will be drawn from the professional music community. Mentors, assistants and volunteers will be drawn from Queen’s University, high school communities, and youth support workers.
Successes of El Sistema inspired programs in other Canadian locations (Ottawa Orkidstra, Sistema Toronto, Sistema New Brunswick) demonstrate that participatory music learning develops confidence, respect, discipline and other positive life skills. Developing strong and positive children builds strong and positive communities.


Paper to Wood Ceremony – November 8th 2016


Watch the video here…

Joe’s M.I.L.L. is proud to be a co-founder of, and supplier of instruments  to Sistema Kingston.

The partners

  • NewQCMIdentity
  • Queens
  • Limestone
  • KeystoneLogo
  • TheHarbourLogo
  • Anna & Edward C. Churchill Foundation

In the media

Our new Sistema Kingston initiative was announced in December 2014 with the following press releases:

Kingston Whig Standard | Queen’s Gazette – you may recognize these students! | Kingston Heritage | | K-Rock 105.7fm | Country 93.5fm | Kiss 102.7fm | The Tett Centre

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