Press Releases


MONTREAL, APRIL 1, 2015 – Thirty-two students from the extraordinary after school program at St. Gabriel Elementary School in Pointe St. Charles called Viva! Sistema celebrated three transformative years of musical achievement, as they joined up with 110 musicians from two North American orchestras -- the University of North Carolina Chamber Orchestra and Fine Arts Core Education (FACE) Symphony Orchestra -- for the "Unidos por la música" concert. It  took place on Saturday, March 28 at the St. Charles' Church in Pointe St. Charles, which attracted over 300 people.

Under the direction of guest conductor Jonathan Andrew Govias, the concert was a dazzling evening that featured a program of Latin American symphonic numbers by composers from that region, as well as musical selections from Georges Bizet’s classic opera “Carmen.” There were also violin solos that were performed by young FACE violin virtuosos Yu Kai Sun, Richard Zheng and Robert Margaryan. The 32 students from St. Gabriel’s Viva! Sistema program appeared during the second half of the concert, where they performed two numbers for strings by Bach and Strachan, as well in the final number of the evening, in which they performed alongside both orchestras. Also present that evening were representatives from the consulates of Venezuela and Mexico.

The concert commemorated the 40th anniversary of the inception of the renown El Sistema world movement in Caracas, as well as the 40th anniversary of the inception of the FACE program in Montreal. Now in its third year, Viva! Sistema is an El Sistema inspired and guided program that uses musical group instruction as a means to affect social change in children and youth. The program runs two hours a day, four days a week and is offered free to the participants.  Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Viva! Sistema program at St. Gabriel School.

To learn more log on to or contact Theodora Stathopoulos, Director of the Viva! Sistema Program, at

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Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213