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EPIC Music is a program of Catamount Arts, in partnership with the St. Johnsbury School, Northeast Kingdom Community Orchestra, and Northeast Kingdom Classical Series. Lessons are taught by Music Director Jason Bergman and teaching artist David Fickes. It is inspired by the global El Sistema movement. 


In 1975, economist and composer Dr. José Antonio Abreu created a music program in Venezuela that was transformational for children living in poverty. El Sistema (The System) has inspired similar programs throughout the world, each creating remarkable social change and producing extraordinary student musicians. The programs are open to any child with the enthusiasm and commitment to learn. Programs offer free instruments, free intense musical instruction, and significant experience working in ensembles. The two most important aspects of El Sistema-style programs are inclusivity for all students, and joy in making music.

Learn more about El Sistema here:

El Sistema USA is a documentary in process which highlights the El Sistema-inspired program Play on Philly!

This video show an exuberant performance by the original El Sistema youth ensemble, Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, a former El Sistema student:


In this video, Maestro Abreu explains the importance of equitable access to high-quality music education: 

You may read the latest issue of the EPIC Music newsletter here.

EPIC Music Summer Camp 2019

Current and former EPIC Music students, as well as students with no violin experience, are invited to take part in this year's EPIC Music Camp, which will be held at St. Johnsbury School June 17-21 and June 24-28 from 8:30-11:30am. Students are eligible to attend the St. Johnsbury Recreation Department's Kamp Iwannahavfun in the afternoon for a reduced fee (call 802-751-2305). Application materials will be available in late April. For more information please contact acampbell@catamountarts.orgor call 802-748-2600 ext. 109. 

To register your child for EPIC Music, please complete a general enrollment form HERE and also the EPIC Music Registration Form HERE.

If you would like to be added to the EPIC Music email list or have any questions, please contact Education Director Anne Campbell at 802-748-2600 ext. 108 or



We are looking for violins that are sized for children: 1/8 to 3/4. We can repair instruments. If you have a violin you would like to donate, please contact Anne Campbell at 802-748-2600, ext. 108 or


Volunteers are the heart of EPIC Music! We are looking for volunteers, high school-aged and up, to help at the program once a week and build relationships with our students. We also need occasion help to raise funds and promote EPIC Music. Click on our Volunteer page for more information: Volunteering at Catamount Arts or contact volunteer coordinator Robin Bergman: or 802-633-2871.


In order to provide a free program for all interested students, we need funds to help pay for teachers, renting and repairing instruments, and administrative support. If you are able to make a gift of any size, please write a check to Catamount Arts and make a note that it is for EPIC Music, or make an online donation here: Donating to Catamount Arts

Thank you!