|History of Organization|
|Orchestrating Diversity Philosophy|
|Board of Directors|
|St. Louis University|
|Friends of Orchestrating Diversity|
The Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center was conceived in 1994 by its founder, Mark Sarich, in association with fellow artists and social thinkers. Their desire was to provide an alternative to the often-restrictive environment of the commercialized artistic expression, especially the products of the music industry. Drawing young people into the process of music making, venue and facility management and communications, Lemp replaces passive entertainment with active engagement.
Since 1997, it has been the goal of our founder to bring a comprehensive orchestral music education program to the youth of the City of St. Louis. In 2008 he worked with a small group of Vista volunteers and musicians to create the Lemp Artists Mentoring Program (LAMP), which would have joined academic tutoring with a Suzuki String Program.
In January 2009, Max Woods, then an undergraduate a Washington University, approached Mark Sarich with the idea of writing a grant to fund a social change program. They agreed to formulate what became Orchestrating Diversity. Successful in acquiring this grant, they, along with Jesse Windels, began the program with an 8-week Summer Intensive, which lasted 6 hours a day, and served 18 students from the city of St. Louis. From the beginning Orchestrating Diversity: El Sistema-St. Louis was committed to an agenda of social change made possible by bringing competent music education to the youth that need it most. The Summer Intensive has continued every year since. And the program has expanded to include an after-school session that runs throughout the school year. Over the years, the original group of 18 students has expanded to the current Orchestrating Diversity Urban Youth Orchestra.
In the month before the implementation of the first Summer Intensive, the team became aware of the work done by Dr. Abreu in Venezuela. In 2010 they petitioned to be added to the roster of American nucleos and were given the status of “Nucleo in Planning”. After a visit by El Sistema Fellowship graduate, Stanford Thompson, Orchestrating Diversity became the eleventh recognized nucleo in the country. From the onset, there was awareness that we could only achieve our transformative goals with a comprehensive program that included children from a young age. In summer of 2012 we began the Junior Urban Music Program (JUMP), which implemented aspects of Dalcroze’s Eurhythmics, the Kodály Method, and Gordon’s Music Learning Theory to teach music literacy. We also offered beginning violin class for children ages 7-8 years old. With the confidence we gained from successfully launching JUMP, we started the same program in East St. Louis in summer of 2013.
In response to the initial drive to bridge the gap in music education and create a more diverse musical world, Orchestrating Diversity has managed to provide private instruction for every student from professional musicians. The Summer Intensive for the Urban Youth Orchestra also holds college level instruction in music theory, music history, and musicianship. Throughout the year, youth have the opportunity to perform professional level music in an orchestra setting, and even see the St. Louis Symphony perform the same repertoire that they are working on.