LOS ANGELES, March 19, 2019 — On March 13-14, 2019, Education Through Music-Los Angeles hosted its 9th Annual Music Unites the World Festival at the Skirball Cultural Center as part of Music In Our Schools Month® (National Association for Music Education). Nearly 1,000 people were in attendance to perform songs from around the world, including approximately 700 students from 32 of ETM-LA’s partner schools across Los Angeles County– South Central, Compton, Boyle Heights, Chinatown, North Hollywood, Pacoima, Canoga Park, Pasadena, Burbank, Sylmar, and other communities.
The two-day festival showcased the musical achievement of Los Angeles youth, along with the transformative power of music to unify people of all ages and from all backgrounds, ethnicities, and geographies. An ETM-LA student remarked, “I think it’s amazing how fast we can make friends just by the love of music.”
In preparation for their performances each day, students worked with celebrity guest artists and educators including Siddhartha Khosla (Composer, This is Us), Rickey Minor (Musical Director, American Idol), Ricardo Hurtado (Actor/Musician, School of Rock), Joe Kraemer (Composer, Jack Reacher), Music Educators Julie West, Juan Rodriguez, Julie Corallo, Misha Shtangrud, Diane Simons, Richard Medrano, and Artists Baraka May(La La Land), and Cathleen Cher.
After engaging students with a musical call-and-response in Hindi, Khosla shared, “So much of my music and story is inspired by my childhood; everything that you’re learning today will be something you carry with you throughout your life.” Minor opened the first day’s concert with a riveting keynote, encouraging all the students to “Always do your best.”
Hurtado, whom the awestruck students immediately recognized as Freddy from the Nickelodeon hit TV series School of Rock, shared a heartfelt performance onstage with arguably his biggest fan – his father, also a music teacher. The two-day festival culminated with hundreds of youth voices united in song on the 2019 ETM-LA winning composition, “Music Unites the World.”
Major sponsors for the 9thAnnual Music Unites the World Festival included PepsiCo, Frito-Lay, and Mattel.