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The ESUSA National Symposium has come to a close. All registered attendees can view recording sessions on the SwapCard platform. Select recordings will be added to the Resource Hub shortly.

Keynote Speaker

Eric Williamson

Eric Williamson (he/him) is the Artistic Director of Lavender Light the Black and People of All Colors LGBTQ+ Gospel Choir. This choir is dedicated to continuing the legacy of singing…

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Jason is a cellist from Pittsfield Massachusetts. He is the son of two immigrant parents from El Salvador and Mexico. He started playing cello when he was 5 years old…

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Born and raised in the Frogtown neighborhood of St Paul, Minnesota, Mahogany is a current senior at The Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Arts (SPCPA) with an emphasis on vocal…

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Guadalupe is a high school senior from Waukegan, Illinois. She has participated in El Sistema Ravinia since 2015. Since the start of her musical journey, Guadalupe has played the oboe…

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Nay “Nexx”

Nexx (he/they) was born in Thailand in a refugee camp and moved to the United States with their immediate family at the age of two, first living in Texas. They…

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I'm Angel, a junior from Los Angeles, California, with over 9 years of involvement in the ESUSA program through YOLA at Exposition. Currently attending online school, I aspire to pursue…

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Hillary is a 16-year-old cellist. She is a Junior at South Garner High School class of 2025. She began cello in 2012 with Kidznotes. After Kidznotes was no longer available…

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Ashley (she/her) is a 9th grade student at the Baltimore School for the Arts and has played the flute through the Baltimore Symphony OrchKids program for the past six years.…

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Mary is a violinist, baker, and high school senior at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. She began playing the violin through the Youth Orchestra of Los…

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Musical Guest

Gateways Brass Collective

El Sistema USA is excited to announce that the Gateways Brass Collective will speak and perform at the ESUSA National Symposium on March 11!

Symposium Schedule

All main conference sessions will be offered virtually and in person. The Pre-Conference is in person only.

March 9, 2023: 12-5pm EST, In Person at Butler University

ESUSA is excited to bring together four partners to provide professional development for teachers and teaching artists! Sign up for the Pre-Symposium Professional Development “add on” option in the Eventbrite registration. Teachers can choose from two options:

Session Option 1 Option 2
One three-hour session from 2-5 pm “Building Identity, Belonging, and Agency Through Musical SEL” with Scott Edgar
Two two-hour sessions from 12-2 pm and 3-5 pm
  • “Developing High Care and High Excellence: Classroom Management in the Music Classroom
    with Teaching Artists Training Institute
  • “For Every Child: Suzuki-Inspired Concepts and Strategies for Successful Classroom Teaching” with Winifred Crock
  • “The Approaches of the Academy for Impact Through Music” with Eric Booth

Session Facilitators

Robert Gofourth -Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair

Robert has more than 25 years of operations and risk management experience across a variety of industries including insurance, mortgage banking, government enterprise, and outsourcing. In 2014, Robert accepted the…

Brian Wiebe

Brian Wiebe has been in the education field for over three decades, primarily as a music educator and administrator, and more recently as community visionary and leader. For 15 years he…

Monique Van Willingh – Co-Vice Chair and Governance Committee Chair

Originally from South Africa, Monique Van Willingh is an educator, musician and advocate for social and racial justice with cultural humility and centering student and community voice as her central…

Daniel Trahey

Daniel Trahey is a musician, educator, and innovator. He was instrumental in the creation of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s “OrchKids” where he is Artistic Director. Dan also founded the El…

Susan Suhr

After a work career that included positions in technical theater (collegiate and professional), manufacturing and franchising, Susan Suhr came to realize that her purpose in life is to help others succeed and…

Myka Miller

Myka's wide range of musical interests include classical as well as jazz and avant-garde repertoire and beyond. She is a versatile performer, having played from concert stages, stadiums, night clubs…

Jessica Therivel

Jessica Therivel graduated in 1996 from University of Michigan with a B.A. in Psychology and went on to Florida State University where she obtained a Master’s degree in Social Work. She…

Angelica Cortez

Angelica Cortez (she/her) is a Los Angeles-born Chicana working at the intersection of music, justice, and education. Her work centers the artists, activists, and communities actively creating a more equitable…

Mark Churchill – Founding Director, ESUSA

Educator, conductor, and cellist Mark Churchill is Director of El Sistema USA and Dean Emeritus of Preparatory and Continuing Education and Senior Advisor of New England Conservatory. As Dean and…

All main conference sessions will be offered virtually and in person. The Pre-Conference is in person only.

Time Description
12:00-5:00 pm Teacher Training Pre-Conference (must register separately for this via Eventbrite – see details above)
6:00-7:00 pm Keynote Address: Dr. Bettina L. Love
7:00-8:00 pm Welcome Reception (includes one drink ticket per attendee and heavy hors d’oeuvres)

All main conference sessions will be offered virtually and in person. The Pre-Conference is in person only.

Time Description
7:00-9:00 am Breakfast at Hotel
9:00-10:00 am
  • Teaching Artist Award Presentation
  • Youth Ambassador Session 1
10:15-11:15 am
  • “Reconnecting and Building Relationships Through Social Emotional Learning in Music Education” with Scott Edgar (Educational Clinician, Conn-Selmer)
  • “Stand up Take a Solo” with Damon Banks & Gwendolyn Laster (Co-Founders, Creative Strings Improvisers Ensemble)
  • “AIM-ing Toward Continual Improvement in Teaching: Learning from the Academy for Impact Through Music – Part 1/2” with Eric Booth (Lead Team, Academy for Impact through Music)
11:30 am – 12:30 pm
  • “Practical Strategy Methods” with Peter Compo (Founder, ozc Research)
  • “Knowing the Importance of Representation and Diversity with a Polynesian Twist” with Leute Lagaaia (Student, Sistema Utah)
  • “Representation Matters! (Who does your reflection represent?)” with Alonzo Chadwick (CEO, Bravo Music & Arts Academy)
12:30-1:30 pm Lunch (provided by ESUSA)
1:30-2:30 pm
  • Youth Ambassador Session 2
  • “The Rainbow Connection: Musical Excellence and Violence Prevention Through Early Childhood Programming” with Katie Burns (String Pedagogy Specialist, El Sistema Colorado) & Johnny Szumski (Program Director, El Sistema Colorado)
2:45-3:45 pm
  • “Determining the Essential Element for Excellence” with Shawn Earle (CEO, Sistema Toronto) & Alex McLeod (Academic Manager, Sistema Toronto)
  • “Character Development in Music” with Maria Del Valle (Director of Music, WHIN Music Community Charter School)
  • “Building a Professional Development Program without Breaking the Bank” with Anna Barson (Managing Director, Teaching Artists Training Institute)
4:00-5:00 pm
  • “A Path to Higher Education: Partnering with University Orchestras” with Dr. Sergio Bernal (Director of Orchestral Studies and Professor of Music, Utah State University)
  • “Developing Instrumental and Performance Technique through Composition & Arranging” with Garrett Mendez (Artistic Director, Project Music) & Armand Hall (Director of Programs, Gateways Music Festival)
  • “Leadership at all Ages: Building a Robust Musical Mentoring Program” with Hillary Harder (Program Director, ECoSistema)& Kent Dutchersmith (Lead Teaching Artist, ECoSistema)

All main conference sessions will be offered virtually and in person. The Pre-Conference is in person only.

Time Description
7:00-9:00 am Breakfast at Hotel
9:00-10:00 am El Sistema USA Annual Meeting
10:15-11:15 am
  • Youth Ambassador Session 3
  • “Elevating Rehearsals through Fun and Excellence” with Liber Cuevos (Program Director, Miami Music Project)
  • “More than Music: Not Your Grandma’s Sound Factory” with Michael Jamanis (Director, Music for Everyone), Matt Woodson (Director of Community Percussion, Music for Everyone), & Katherine Lankford (Admin of Music Education, Music for Everyone)
11:30 am – 12:30 pm
  • “AIM-ing Toward Continual Improvement in Teaching: Learning from the Academy for Impact through Music – Part 2/2” with Eric Booth (Lead Team, Academy for Impact through Music)
  • “Voices from Within: An Inside Look at Teaching with El Sistema-Inspired Programs “ with Anna Barson (Managing Director, Teaching Artists Training Institute) and Panel (Amanda Haag, El Sistema LeHigh Valley, Anna Perkins, Sistema Ravinia, Bobby Woody, Peabody Institute’s Tuned In, Karina Eijo, Miami Music Project, Negar Afazel, Kalamazoo Kids in Tune)
  • “A Dream Realized: Promoting Equitable Access for Adult Learners in Strings Ensembles” with Abigayle Witt (Business Operations Manager, Butler Community Arts School) & Shannon Crow (Teaching Artist and Founder/Director of Adult Strings Ensembles, Butler Community Arts School)
12:30-2:30 pm Lunch Networking Break (provided by ESUSA)
2:45-3:45 pm
  • “Embodied Experiences with Body Mind Mapping” with Kelsey Milian Lopez (Ethnomusicology Graduate Student and Educational Leadership Facilitator, CUNY Graduate Center & Miami Music Project)
  • “At the Intersection of Music and Culture: How the INTEMPO Humanities Curriculum Project Broadens Student Learning” with Douglas Lausten (Manager of Education and Community Impact, INTEMPO), Anny Guartatanga & Nicole Rodas
  • “Beyond our city blocks: The process and experience of a program-led summer nature retreat for young musicians from Accent Pontiac” with Dr. Tia Harvey (Program Director, Accent Pontiac) & Tina Rowan (Executive Director, Accent Pontiac)
4:00-5:00 pm
  • Closing Plenary with Gateways Brass Collective

Thank you to our sponsors!



Los Angeles Philharmonic Logo
Los Angeles Philharmonic



Johnson String Instrument Logo
Johnson String Instrument
Gateways Music Festival


Conn Selmer Logo
Conn Selmer
Suzuki Association of the Americas
Suzuki Association of the Americas


Bornoff Foundation Logo
Bornoff Foundation
New England Conservatory of Music
New England Conservatory of Music
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