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Students from Across Los Angeles Come Together Through Music at ETM-LA’s 13th Annual Music Unites the World Festival


Contact: Xina Yee
Phone: (818) 433-7600

LOS ANGELES, CA – On March 29-30, 2023, Education Through Music-Los Angeles (ETM-LA) hosted its 13th Annual Music Unites the World Festival in person for the first time since 2019. This event united communities from across Los Angeles and beyond through music and the exploration of diverse artists and cultures. Students learned from local expert coaches in workshops throughout the morning and ended the day with performances for family, friends, and fellow ETM-LA partner school students.

The first day of the festival focused on instrumental ensembles across ETM-LA’s partner schools. The final concert featured Rock Band, String Orchestra, and Band programs. Instrumental coaches included Rickey Minor (Emmy® Award-Winning Music Director, Composer, & Producer; American Idol, Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson), Juan Rodriguez (Music Teacher & Band Director; ETM-LA 2022 Shining Star Music Educator), and Angel Velez (Conductor & Orchestrator, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, The Mandalorian; ETM-LA Associates Board Member). In his keynote speech, Rickey Minor shared, “It’s an honor for me to be here and spend time with these young musicians, young thinkers; they can be anything they want to be and they will be. I know that music can save lives and change lives; thank you for supporting the arts and music.”

The second day of the festival hosted choir ensembles for workshops and a culminating concert that featured multicultural songs, along with the world premiere of the Music Unites the World Songwriting Contest winning piece, “The Sound of A New World” by Composer Alexi Paraschos. Introducing over 250 choir students for the premiere performance, Paraschos recounted: “The music educators in my life are the only reason I am still doing music today. Not only were they phenomenal musicians, but they allowed me to find my own voice through music.” Vocal coaches included Baraka May (Billie Eilish, Harry Styles, Encanto), Zanaida Robles (Performing Arts Instructor, Harvard-Westlake School, Vocalist; Glee, Tinkerbell: Pirate Fairy, Minions, Creed), and Misha Shtangrud (Director of Vocal Ensembles at Colburn School of Music; Artistic Director at MUSYCA Children’s Choir). May opened the concert with an inspiring song and keynote message for students and parents: “Music has an undeniable effect on the brain; the ability to integrate the logical, scientific, mathematical side with the creative, storytelling, expressive side. Don’t we all want that for our children?”


ETM-LA also spotlighted student essay contest winners who read their award-winning works on stage for their parents and peers. ETM-LA Partner School Student Santos (Grade 5), Winner of the Most Original Award, shared: “I love learning about all the different types of music and finding the music that makes me feel the happiest, so I can share this feeling with others… I think sharing music with others is important because it’s like socializing with a soundtrack and you can learn about many different artists.” Winner of the Young Writer Award, Katy (Grade 6) shared in her essay: “In choirs, there are altos, sopranos, and 2nd sopranos. They all sing different notes, but when they sing together, it creates a beautiful sound.”

Congratulations to our partner school students and all who were involved, including our staff, volunteers, music teachers, and board. Thank you to our festival sponsors: Angel Velez, Booker & Sarita White, BTW Productions, Cassell’s Music, Format Entertainment, Music Man Foundation, GRAMMY Museum Foundation, Michael Giacchino, SEL4CA, Starbucks, Universal Studios, Walt Disney Studios, City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, and the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture.


Watch The 13th Annual Music Unites the World Festival Summary

Watch “The Sound of A New World”

Watch “Tama Tu”


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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.

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