SISTEMA WINNIPEG CHANGES LIVES A daily, intensive, after-school program that uses music education as a tool for social change, Sistema serves children in Winnipeg’s North End with the fewest resources and greatest need. Inspired by El Sistema (‘The System’), a movement that originated in Venezuela in 1975 with the mission to promote social change through collective music-making in orchestral settings, Sistema Winnipeg brought this philosophy to Manitoba in 2011.  

By delivering musical training to children after school, five days a week, at no cost to their families, Sistema Winnipeg encourages children to develop to their full potential as engaged and socially-responsible citizens. Sistema Winnipeg is a partnership between the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO), Seven Oaks School Division and Winnipeg School Division.

The program currently serves up to 150 children in grades 1-10 at two school sites locations; Elwick Community School and King Edward School. Approximately 49% of Sistema Winnipeg students are newcomers to Canada, and 36% come from an Indigenous background. This program uses the power of ensemble music to transform children’s lives, through holistic programming that includes musical training, healthy snacks, performance opportunities, social events and family engagement. Students develop self-expression, teamwork, and leadership, in the framework of a strong, supportive community and through daily collaborative music-making.