ECoSistema is a music and youth development program focused on building community through music. Through partnerships, ECoSistema creates an accessible pathway of music education opportunities from birth through young adulthood for all people in Elkhart County.
The Boys & Girls Club of Goshen serves 100 students and families every year through ECo Foundations (ages 0-8), ECo Sings (ages 7-12), and ECo Strings (ages 8-14), plus internships for high school and college students. ECo BGC Goshen is made possible by generous support from Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County and the Community Foundation of Elkhart County.
Roosevelt STEAM Academy was the flagship site of El Sistema-inspired programming in Elkhart County, launching in 2014 with generous support from Elkhart Community Schools, Conn-Selmer, and Horizon Education Alliance. Today RSA serves 250 students in grades 3-5 with instrumental music 3 times a week. RSA music offerings include strings, winds, brass, percussion, world drumming, vocal music, ukulele, and modern band.
The TYC operates through a partnership between the Tolson Center for Community Excellence and Goshen College. The TYC celebrates the musical traditions of south-central Elkhart, build bridges across Elkhart County, empowers youth through singing and community-building activities, and promotes a college-going mindset among Elkhart youth.
Bashor began partnering with ECoSistema in the fall of 2022. ECo programming at Bashor includes drumming, percussion, and creative composition. ECo Bashor serves approximately 60 youth per year. ECo Bashor participants participate in weekly drumming sessions, compose original music, and play a variety of different percussion instruments from around the world.
Launched in the fall of 2023, Mariachi ECo is a string ensemble dedicated to exploring the rich heritage of mariachi music. Mariachi ECo is made up of approximately 20 students from middle school through college, as well as several teachers and community members. Mariachi ECo has performed at the Hispanic Heritage Festival in downtown Goshen, the Goshen Public Library, and the Goshen College Music Center.
ECoSistema is a music and youth development program focused on building community through music. Through partnerships, ECoSistema creates an accessible pathway of music education opportunities from birth through young adulthood for all people in Elkhart County. Each year ECoSistema helps bring music education to 1,000 youth ages 0-22.
ECoSistema has its roots in the global music education movement called “El Sistema,” which began in Venezuela in 1975. Programs modeled after El Sistema, called “El Sistema-inspired programs,” now exist all over the world! Though each one is different, they share common elements like a focus on community-building, including parents and families in music learning, working toward equity through free or low-cost instruction, and teaching music in groups. ECoSistema is a member of El Sistema USA, which serves 25,000 students nationwide.
“ECoSistema” stands for “Elkhart County El Sistema.” This is our local chapter of a global movement! The word “ecosistema” in Spanish means “ecosystem,” which represents the important role that each individual plays for the good of the whole. We like to go by “ECo” for short, because the impact of music “echoes” out into the community and throughout students’ lives for years to come.
ECoSistema forms a network of music education programs that each look different and take place all over Elkhart County. By working together with the Goshen College Community School of the Arts and many other partner organizations, ECoSistema is able to provide more music for more kids for a longer stage of their lives. ECoSistema works towards this goal in two ways:
- Creating music programming in community hubs for students and families who may face access barriers to music education.
- Building bridges to existing music programs like Music Together, school music programs, and the orchestral and choral ensembles at the GC Community School of the Arts.
Some of our partner organizations include:
- Bashor Children’s Home*
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County (Goshen Club)*
- Community Foundation of Elkhart County
- Elkhart Community Schools (Roosevelt STEAM Academy)*
- Goshen College Music Center
- Goshen Community Schools
- Horizon Education Alliance
- Minority Health Coalition of Elkhart County
- Tolson Center for Community Excellence*
*ECo program site
The ECoSistema Pathway
ECoSistema seeks to provide equitable access to music education for all children, youth, and families in Elkhart County from birth to young adulthood in Elkhart County. We work toward that goal by building on the musical assets that already exist in our community, forming intentional partnerships to connect more children with more music for a longer stage of their lives. ECoSistema isn’t about reinventing the wheel – Elkhart County is already fortunate to have rich, robust music education programs in our schools and community! Instead, ECoSistema strives to fill access gaps and build a sense of belonging through music.