"A few of my colleagues in the sector have voiced their growing concern over what might charitably be referred to as “Sistema Theatre.” You’ve probably seen the videos: giant massed orchestras, bright coloured shirts, exaggerated stage motion culminating in a strangely anti-social camera focus on hyperkinetic podium flailing. Spectacle has always played an important role in advocacy, and to some extent it has become essential to communicate both the spirit and the achievements of the sector, but in some cases the theatre has replaced real social impact. It was important to Theodora and me that what we planned in Montréal had integrity of purpose and outcome. Jamming kids together for a concert wasn’t enough.
"As the culmination of our week of collaborations, site visits, rehearsing and teaching, the combined forces of FACE and UNC Charlotte performed two concerts of Latin-infused music, but in venues important to the communities in which the Sistema programs were embedded. No coloured shirts, and my hair isn’t long enough for me to get away with hyperkinetics. There was spectacle, but even the spectacle was in service of two marginalized communities, one of which had never been visited by a symphony orchestra before…"
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Jonathan Govias, Sistema Fellow '10