Somerville, MA – After three years at the helm of the Somerville Public Schools’ newest music program, El Sistema Somerville’s first program director Diane Cline will be leaving the program and embarking on a “Year of Donations” project. She will be leaving her full-time position as Director of the program effective June 30, 2015.
Motivated by a desire to pursue new creative endeavors, Ms. Cline will immediately embark on her new project which includes playing and teaching engagements in the Azores Islands, Colombia, Scotland, and the Greater Boston area.
“I want to continue to perform, teach, and build community relationships through music, but with more flexibility for some exciting new opportunities. The concept of a ‘Year of Donations’ is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, but have never been brave enough to try until now,” Cline explained. “It is essentially an opportunity to give my talents and skills freely, and graciously accept anything given in return. It’s something I need to do as an artist and a global citizen, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the project unfolds.”
Founded in 2012 under the leadership of Rick Saunders, Music Department Head for the Somerville Public Schools, the El Sistema Somerville program has grown over the course of three years to provide daily after-school orchestral music education to students on violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, clarinet, saxophone, and trumpet. Membership in the program has more than doubled since the program’s inception. In addition to orchestral rehearsals and small group sectional classes, students have had the opportunity to participate in a range of musical electives. Community members of all ages are also able to engage in a weekly, sliding-scale “Community Ensemble” class.
“El Sistema Somerville has been an excellent addition to our outstanding music program, providing students with an opportunity to build both musical, social and academic skills through an intensive afterschool program that also focuses on the development of key social skills such as teamwork, communication, and respect,” commented Tony Pierantozzi, Superintendent of Schools. “We look forward to continuing to build on Diane’s and Rick’s outstanding work during the initial years of this program. We wish Diane much enjoyment as she travels the world on her ‘Year of Donations’ project, and great success in her new endeavors.”
During Cline’s directorship, the El Sistema Somerville program has been awarded grants to establish a String Quartet-in-Residence, a Musicians with a Mission private lesson program, and numerous guest artist series. The program has also received donations and other funding support to establish a “Concert Closet” for young musicians and a fleet of high-quality instruments for students. In the spring of 2015, the program commissioned the musical work Phoenix Rising to celebrate the rebuilding of the East Somerville Community School. Students were recently featured on the national PBS television show Arthur, set to air in the spring of 2016.
In addition to yearly concerts in the Somerville community, El Sistema Somerville students have performed on stage at the Fisher Center of Bard College, at Harvard University’s Sanders Theater, and at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel. The program engages 25 yearly volunteer Music Mentors and maintains collaborations with Harvard University, New England Conservatory of Music, Longy School of Music of Bard College, Tufts University, Boston Philharmonic, Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, and local high schools.
Of the future of the organization, Cline says, “I feel so lucky to have been a part of this beautiful project, and know that the program will continue to grow and thrive. I can’t wait to see how it develops in the years to come!”