Sistema in Norwich is an independent programme run by Norfolk & Norwich Community Arts (NORCA), inspired by the Venezuelan El Sistema approach and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra. Both Catton Grove Primary School and Larkman Primary School are working with the Sistema in Norwich team, through three after-school sessions in each school each week.
For three and a half years, NORCA was part of the In Harmony pilot a programme funded by the UK government, which provided over 1,000 Norwich school children with musical, social and personal development, and created two orchestras made up of young children from the Larkman and Catton Grove areas of the city. Learning from existing work by El Sistema and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, which is the most famous example of what El Sistema can achieve, Norwich has seen the development of a ground-breaking project that improves the lives of some of the city’s most deprived children through participation in music.
When funding for this pilot came to an end, Sistema in Norwich was created to continue this work in the existing schools (Catton Grove and Larkman Primary). Additionally, Sistema in Norwich is now available to a wider range of schools and will be more flexible in the way that it delivers music education and social change through music. The priorities are individual and social development through the skills required to learn music, play an instrument, and work as a team member in an orchestra.
Sistema in Norwich will maintain links with the In Harmony projects but will work differently and hopes to have much closer ties with the global Sistema network and Sistema-inspired programmes all over the world. It's a new and independent programme.
Sistema in Norwich is currently supported through the schools’ own budgets, sponsorship and funding from Norfolk Music Hub and local trusts. In order to develop a full Sistema programme, a fundraising appeal will be launched in the autumn.