Photo courtesy Tocando/Facebook
The El Paso Symphony announced Thursday that it will expand its After-School Music Project, Tocando, to Tornillo Elementary School as an in-class and after-school program in January 2020 providing free instruments, music instruction and performance opportunities.
Tocando uses music education as a vehicle for students to acquire valuable tools of teamwork, self-confidence, leadership, and academic success as campuses grow to include additional immigrant communities.
Tornillo is an impoverished rural community 40 miles east of El Paso which gained national attention during the migrant crisis earlier in 2019.
Although, that migrant population has been dispersed throughout the United States, Tornillo remains predominantly populated by resettled immigrants from Mexico. It is this population that will benefit from the Tocando program, which will be restructured as a during-school-day and after-school program to accommodate the students’ needs.
“Children here are in so much need, and we want to be able to create something better for them. For many of our students, this music education program is a lifeline” says Rosy Vega-Barrio, Superintendent, Tornillo Independent School District.
Currently in its 7th year, Tocando launched in September 2013 at Hart Elementary School in the El Segundo Barrio neighborhood of South El Paso. It is currently serving 2nd to 8th grade students of Aoy Elementary, Hart Elementary, Young Women’s Academy and Guillen Middle school.
Tocando students attend programming Monday through Thursday throughout the school year, a two-week summer camp at their home campus and are given an opportunity to attend a week-long sleep-away summer music camp as well.
Students regularly visit El Paso Museum of Art, though the ArtBeats initiative, and gain insight into the connection between visual and instrumental art.
In addition, students participate in annual Career Day visits to UTEP where they spend the day touring the campus and enjoying activities prepared by various departments such as, Music, Education, Science, Engineering and Computer to introduce them to college life.
Tocando in Tornillo is supported by The NAMM Foundation’s Believe in Music Fund under its new initiative “Music Education at the Border” that seeks to support students, their families and schools with music education opportunities.
The NAMM Foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs; more information is available online.
In addition, Tocando in Tornillo is supported by The Bernstein Family Foundation, El Sistema Greece, the Bonnie and Peter Reagan Fund and many donors through the Go Fund Me page Bring Music to the Children on the US/MEXICO Border.
Anyone interested in becoming involved with this program should contact the EPSO office at (915) 532-3776 for more information.