WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Calling all uptown Yo Yo Mas; a new Washington Heights Youth Orchestra is looking for members.
The WHIN Youth Orchestra is recruiting children ages 7-23 that have experience playing string, brass and wind instruments.
The orchestra, which launched in October, is an initiative of the Washington Heights and Inwood Music Project - El Sistema Uptown, the United Palace of Cultural Arts, and the Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music.
Students, who meet every Saturday for rehearsals at the United Palace, have already performed at El Museo del Barrio, the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, the first annual NY/NJ El Sistema Programs Showcase and the Latin American Cultural Week.
Program director David Gracia said that the orchestra follows the El Sistema model of music instruction, which mixes music theory with community integration and has grown in popularity over since debuting in Venezuela over 50 years ago. Orchestra members are mentored by students from the Bronx High School of Music.
"We're not just playing music, we want to build a community," said Gracia. "The younger kids look up to older ones and older kids feel responsible for the younger ones."
"It's astonishing how powerful engaged children are, how they develop."
The fee for the youth orchestra is $5 per week. More information can be found at the orchestra's website: www.whinmusicproject.org.