Trenton Music Makers Receives Three-Year Grant from El Sistema USA

TRENTON, NJ – Trenton Music Makers, formerly known in the Capital region as Trenton Community Music School, received news in recent weeks that gives its teachers, and its dedicated young orchestra musicians, another reason to celebrate.

Trenton Music Makers has been chosen by El Sistema USA, the national membership organization for programs effecting social change through music, as part of its first “PRESTO” (Program for Rising El Sistema Organizations) cohort. PRESTO grantees will receive $67,500 in funding over three years, in addition to mentoring and technical assistance in maximizing the social-development impacts that are associated with ambitious musical pursuit.

Funds from this grant will enable Trenton Music Makers to open two new program sites in partnership with the Trenton Public Schools: a string sectional at Trenton Central High School, to enrich the excellent orchestra program led by Joseph Pucciatti, and a pre-orchestra program for second graders at Jefferson Elementary School, to be co-taught by esteemed strings teacher Peg Banks, and Jefferson’s beloved music teacher, Jason Hui. For 2018-19, Trenton Music Makers is positioned to reach students in the 2nd through 12th grades, as these new sites join the two that are already thriving at Grant Elementary School and Dunn Middle School.

“Our goal is to support innovation and growth in the El Sistema movement across the United States. The PRESTO program is our way of providing that support through resources and training for young organizations exhibiting great potential,” said El Sistema USA’s Executive Director, Katie Wyatt. “It is thanks to the vision of the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation and their belief in our work that El Sistema USA is able to make this $1 million-dollar investment into El Sistema-inspired organizations that have shown early initiative and displayed exemplary work.”

In addition to opening additional sites, the PRESTO program will support the development of its diverse team of teaching artists, which includes master string teachers, freelance musicians, young and dedicated college graduates, and excellent classroom teachers hired from among the district teaching staff. Their backgrounds are a winning combination – one that serves the children’s musical and social development in an unparalleled manner.

“We are deeply honored to be a part of this cohort of organizations receiving El Sistema USA’s support,” said Carol Burden, Trenton Music Makers’ Executive Director. “The funding will open doors for more young people to be a part of the program, and help to build a stronger program for them to join. We’re looking forward to convening with our fellow PRESTO grantees from around the country and working together to support all of our kids.”