Press Releases

Paterson Music Project Joins Sistema NJ at NJPAC


Paterson Music Project, an El Sistema-inspired community program of Wharton Music Center, joins forces with Sistema NJ for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s Pre-Concert Adventure Series on Saturday, June 7 at 1:00 p.m. at NJPAC located at 1 Center Street in Newark. The Pre-Concert Adventure Series is held in the lobby of NJPAC immediately preceding the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Family Concert at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children.


Nearly 200 young children will perform together as part of Sistema NJ, an alliance of El Sistema-inspired programs in New Jersey including Union City Music Project, NJSO CHAMPS (Character, Achieve and Music Project), Sister Cities Girlchoir of Camden, and Paterson Music Project. The concert culminates with the performance of a piece by composer David Rimelis commissioned specially for the event.

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Violinist, guitarist, educator and composer, Rimelis’ music has been performed by the Boston Pops, National Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Saint Louis Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Western Australia Symphony, Minnesota Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Rimelis is artist-in-residence for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and teaching artist for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. As a supporter of the El Sistema model of music education, he composed a piece for the Baltimore-based El Sistema program OrchKids to perform with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in 2011. He is Director of Music Education for the AIDS Resource Foundation for Children in Newark and served as composer-in-residence for the Concordia Orchestra for twelve years.

El Sistema, originated in Venezuela by Dr. José Antonio Abreu over 30 years ago, provides a model of how a music program can both create musicians and positively impact the lives of children. Students are immersed in learning music several days a week with loving and caring teachers who impart the program’s core values of respecting each other, working together as a team, and the belief that “every child has limitless possibilities and the ability to strive for excellence.” As an El Sistema-inspired program, Paterson Music Project at Community Charter School of Paterson offers a structured environment for fostering social change and youth development through music to enable participating students to feel valuable within their community. Paterson Music Project came to life in January 2013 when thirty second grade students joined the after-school program to learn to play violins, violas, and cellos. Within a few short months the students appeared on stage with the New Jersey Youth Symphony at the Union County Performing Arts Center for the Wharton Music Center 2013 Spring Gala Performance. In its second year, the number of children participating in the program has doubled, and looking towards the future Paterson Music Project expects to expand into a full-fledged orchestra for the entire elementary school and eventually throughout the Paterson School District.


Tickets to the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Pre-Concert Adventure and Family Concert are $20 for adults and $10 for children. For tickets and more information, visit


Wharton Music Center, located at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights, provides music, theatre, and dance instruction, educational programs, and performances for children, teens, and adults. In addition to instruction in all instruments and voice, WMC offers classes in musical theatre, dance, drama, vocal music, music theory, audio recording, early childhood music, and music for children with special needs. Offering a range of musical genres including classical, rock, jazz, and blues, WMC is one of New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts center serving students in Union, Morris, Essex, Somerset, and other surrounding counties. WMC’s vibrant and active community programs include Paterson Music Project, an El Sistema-inspired music program at Community Charter School of Paterson (CCSP) in Paterson, New Jersey.


WMC offers orchestral and ensemble music education for grades 3 through 12 through New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS) located at 570 Central Avenue in New Providence. NJYS, one of the foremost youth orchestras in the state, has eleven orchestras and ensembles for which auditions are held annually. NJYS’s premiere orchestra, Youth Symphony, has performed in internationally renowned concert halls such as Carnegie Hall in New York City and Musikverein in Vienna.


The mission of Wharton Music Center, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, is to advance excellence and education in the performing arts. For more information, visit or

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