On Jan 16th, the musicians of El Sistema@Rainey had their debut performance on stage at Severance Hall, where they performed alongside members of The Cleveland Orchestra, faculty members of Cleveland Institute of Music and their young students and were directed by Raphael Jimenez, Director of Orchestras at Oberlin Conservatory and a musical product of El Sistema in Venezuela.
For many Rainey students and their families, this was their first visit to Severance Hall. The Rainey orchestra performed with poise and professional demeanor, and sat in awe as their peers performed Star Wars and other selections for them. Jeffery Tong was particularly impressed with the level of playing demonstrated by some of the young children sharing the stage: “they practice when they are sleeping and when they are eating and even in the car.” He is inspired! Jamiyah Dotson felt the highlight of the event was “when my family was proud of me”. The very large group of family members in attendance enthusiastically cheered on their children and many participants felt this was the highlight of the El Sistema@Rainey program so far. The next performances onstage at Severance Hall will be on April 1st at 2 pm and on May 13th at 2 pm.