El Sistema Calgary Multicultural Orchestra Foundation is a charity with the purpose to create, implement and operate music programs for children and youth who might not otherwise have an opportunity to learn music. The Foundation promotes healthy social
development through quality and inclusive musical activities.
The main scope of the Foundation is the Calgary Multicultural Orchestra (CMO) program, a free afterschool music program open to all children and youth. Nevertheless, CMO aims are focused especially on offering music education access to children and youth from low-income families, keeping them engaged in positive activities during critical hours. CMO offers free instrument loans school year-round and music lessons at no cost. We group students by age and musical ability/experience, keeping class sizes in a 1:10 teacher-students ratio. In regular times, students receive 4 hours of class/week: for two hours a week, kids gather for a full orchestra rehearsal in addition to two hours of instrument lessons separated by groups.
CMO program outcomes are not only advancement in learning the skills of music, but children also show increases in good use of free time, leadership skills, high self-esteem, and a sense of belonging. Participating and playing in an orchestra encourages students
to develop cooperative management techniques, cultural understanding, and teamwork.
Based on “El Sistema” program from Venezuela, created by Dr. Jose Antonio Abreu in 1975, the Calgary Multicultural Orchestra’s unwavering focus continues to be improving lives through the power of music. CMO uses music education as a vehicle for social change. It cultivates an affluence of spirit which brings hope, joy, and positive social impact to children and their families and communities throughout Calgary.
As a social change organization, we invest in children and their families, and in our community to solve complex social issues.
Music has the power to change life and make big social transformation.