The Los Angeles Jewish Symphony recently produced its inaugural virtual education program, “A Patchwork of Cultures: Exploring the Sephardic-Latino Connection.” Through the digital program, the LAJS engaged students in the arts and educated a diverse population about their bonds of cultural solidarity.
The 2021 curriculum was adapted from the symphony’s innovative annual education program, which typically consisted of a series of classroom workshops led by LAJS teaching artists at participating schools. The program reaches approximately 1,000 students per year in the 4th and 5th grades in Los Angeles public schools in low-income areas with a significant Latino population.
To reimagine the curriculum for a digital learning environment, teaching artists, staff members and a production team created a program that students could safely watch and engage with during virtual classes. The in-class workshops were transformed into 10- to 15-minute lessons with interactive games, guest speakers and musical performers, and archival concert footage. Participating schools also received a teacher guidebook that included additional activities and discussion points to incorporate into their lesson plans.
LAJS, founded in 1994 by Dr. Noreen Green, serves as a professional resource for aspiring Jewish and non-Jewish musicians, and acts as an educational medium for a diverse population of children. LAJS has conducted music education programs for over 20 years, reaching more than 20,000 students.
The program explores and promotes the cultural ties that Sephardic Jews share with people of Latin America. It culminated in May with the debut of a free virtual concert featuring the LAJS performing a Sephardic and Latino repertoire highlighting what the
Students learned in the program. The concert also featured an interactive dialogue led by Green and performances by special guests Cantor Marcelo Gindlin, Eden Kontesz, and Max Brenner.
The program is available for additional schools. For information, call (818)646-2844, or [email protected].