Sign up for our updates. No spam.

Let's Make Great Music Together


Thanks! You've been subscribed to the newsletter.

Under construction


Music from Across the Globe Brings Communities Together at ETM-LA’s 11th Annual Music Unites the World Festival


Contact: Katie Boone
Phone: (818) 433-7600

Los Angeles, CA – On May 13, 2021, Education Through Music-Los Angeles premiered its 11th Annual Music Unites the World Festival live on Facebook and YouTube, with encore showings on May 15 & 23. This family-friendly virtual event united communities from across Los Angeles and beyond through music and the exploration of diverse artists and cultures.

Hosted by Emmy-Winning Music Director Rickey Minor (American Idol, Stevie Wonder), festival highlights included interactive music activities — such as Afro-Cuban percussion led by Kevin Ricard (Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Bette Midler), Call & Response songs with Artist/Composer Siddhartha Khosla (This is Us, Goldspot) and Black American Sign Language to the classic song “Lean on Me,” led by ETM-LA Music Educator Kimberly Cox Johnson. Students read heartfelt excerpts of their award-winning essays, and ETM-LA’s virtual choir, strings, and band gave compelling performances.

Winner of the Young Writer Award, ETM-LA Partner School Student Ajay read: “I really enjoyed my classes and summer camp experiences because I have been able to do something I truly enjoyed during a very hard and lonely time. By learning new notes, melodies, and skills, I was able to compose my very own song called ‘Sad Light Sun Light’. This song is about how sadness and happiness come together… Music brings us together when we think we are all alone.”

Festival attendees also enjoyed a music and dance performance by INCA Peruvian Ensemble (The Music Center), and the students received special shout-outs from Composer Pinar Toprak (Captain Marvel, Fortnite), ETM-LA Board Chair Booker White (Supervisor of Music Preparation, Head of Music Library – Disney), and Emmy, Tony, & Grammy Award-Winning Actress/Singer/Songwriter Cynthia Erivo (Harriet, The Color Purple).

Congratulations to all who were involved, including our Songwriting Contest Winner, Composer William Malpede. While speaking about his inspiration for the song, Malpede shared: “Different cultures bring their own style of music to the table, and we can all enjoy that together. This [song] is all about ‘I bring you together, you’re my friend; let’s work this out together.’” The theme of unity resounded in lines from the song’s chorus, and Malpede explained their meaning: “Although we may be different, the light that we share and give out is the same.” Students from across LA County then joined together to perform the winning piece, creating a powerful virtual experience.

Thank you to our festival sponsors: Cassell’s Music, Donut Friend, The Music Center, Uku Global, The Carl & Roberta Deutsch Foundation, Johnny Carson Foundation, The M.S. Grumbacher Foundation, The Music Man Foundation, Heads Up Youth Foundation, Preston and Maurine Hotchkis Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, and the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

View Photo Gallery


# # #


Education Through Music-Los Angeles is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to provide and promote music in under-resourced schools as part of the core curriculum for every child in order to enhance students’ academic achievement, creativity, and overall development.

For more information: