About Us

What is El Sistema Oklahoma?

El Sistema Oklahoma has grown rapidly into a well-respected, successful and unique after-school program serving over 200 underserved and disadvantaged public school children in the heart of Oklahoma City. El Sistema Oklahoma is a non-profit 501(c)3 founded by Cathy and Phil Busey, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, and the Wanda Bass School of Music at Oklahoma City University through a creative partnership. The mission of El Sistema Oklahoma is to serve the community by engaging children within an ensemble-based music program so they can share the joy of music making and grow as responsible citizens.

While our students receive instruction from top-notch music teachers five days a week during the school year, El Sistema Oklahoma is about more than music education. We believe musicianship is one tool to help children grow as responsible citizens and community members. The children who participate in El Sistema Oklahoma receive a world-class musical education with lessons that extend beyond the practice room and into the real world. Research is beginning to show what our teachers and staff strongly believe: what children learn at El Sistema Oklahoma will have a meaningful and profound impact in their daily lives and on our community in the years to come. We take great pride and joy in working with our children.

Currently, El Sistema Oklahoma serves 220 children in third through ninth grade.

What are El Sistema Oklahoma’s outcomes?

El Sistema Oklahoma students showcase their developing musical skills in regular public performances as an ensemble. During the 2015-2016 school year, students gave seven concert performances and nine additional performances by chamber ensembles. El Sistema Oklahoma has performed at the Oklahoma City Jazz Festival, with the Oklahoma City Community Orchestra, and delivered a pre-concert performance for the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. At our concerts, students perform on a full range of instruments, from violins to tubas, which are assigned based on a combination of the student’s preferences, the instructor’s professional discretion, and the instrumental needs of the ensemble.

Through a partnership with Oklahoma City University, students have the opportunity to perform new compositions that premier at our concerts and are written for El Sistema Oklahoma ensembles. Children also have the opportunity to compose and perform their own pieces.

Most importantly, the program has experienced unprecedented family and community involvement since it began in Oklahoma City. Capacity crowds fill some of the largest performance halls in Oklahoma City for El Sistema Oklahoma concerts. As our program continues to grow and enrollment increases, we expect our concert attendance to grow, too!

Who can enroll in El Sistema Oklahoma?

**Enrollment is currently full for 2016-2017**

El Sistema Oklahoma is always accepting enrollment inquiries, but official enrollment is by invitation only through our service site schools. Priority enrollment is given to children with their principal’s recommendation from our current service sites at the following Oklahoma City Public elementary schools: Linwood, Gatewood, Putnam Heights, Sequoyah, Cleveland, Kaiser and Edgemere.

Children should meet the following criteria to participate in El Sistema Oklahoma:

  • Must be in grades 3, 4, 5, 6 for the 2016-2017 school year
  • Needs an opportunity to engage in something positive that will result in motivation and recognition
  • May benefit from a sense of focus, discipline and joy
  • A family or caretaker, when given the opportunity to do something extraordinary for their child, will take this leap of faith with us

Students do not need any prior musical experience to be considered for El Sistema Oklahoma. All instruction will begin at the beginner level.

**To inquire about enrollment, please email elsistemaok@gmail.com**