Ten years of transforming the lives of children and young people in Norwich

For 10 years NORCA and Sistema in Norwich has been transforming the lives of children and young people in the poorest parts of the city. Sistema was launched at Catton Grove and Larkman Primaries in 2009 by Julian Lloyd Webber. Since then, each year it has helped up to 1,000 young people aged 7 to 18 to realise their potential and succeed across all areas of their lives through learning to play a musical instrument and being part of an orchestra.

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of Sistema in Norwich and the wider work of the charity there will be a special concert at UEA on 11 October. Carnavalia will focus on Latin and Latin-influenced music. This will be performed by The Colegate Nucleo Orchestra made up of young people that have progressed through the Sistema programme.

The concert will also feature an orchestra of Sistema young musicians alongside special guest musicians, all under the expert guidance of Musical Director Juan Gabriel Roja. It will end with music to get people up and dancing. The concert is at 7.30 pm on 11 October at UEA LCR. Tickets are £5, £4 and £3 and available to under 16s for just £1 and can be bought from www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk.

Marcus Patterson, Executive Director of NORCA and Sistema in Norwich, has been leading the organisation since the beginning. He said ‘We use participation and engagement in music to achieve a social impact, to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds by improving their confidence, raise their aspirations, develop team working, listening skills, and to encourage a sense of achievement.’

‘Over the past decade we have seen what difference this has made to the lives of participants and their families. It transforms individuals and the spaces they share, leading to positive personal, social, economic and health impacts.’ He added.

Musical Director Juan Gabriel Roja came to Norwich two years ago and has introduced the concept of bringing professional musicians from other countries to play with the Sistema orchestra. A first-class violinist, Juan is himself a product of El Sistema in Venezuela and a passionate advocate of the scheme.

‘Sistema gives children from deprived and less well-off areas the chance to learn to play an instrument’ he said, ‘As well as learning musical skills, dexterity and teamwork it also contributes to their general wellbeing and broadens their horizons.’