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EPIC Music is a program of Catamount Arts, in partnership with the Northeast Kingdom Community Orchestra, St. Johnsbury School, and Northeast Kingdom Classical Series. Lessons will be taught by Jason Bergman, string instructor at St. Johnsbury Academy, private music instructor, and conductor of the Northeast Kingdom Community Orchestra; and guest teaching artists. It is inspired by the El Sistema music program.


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 current issue of the EPIC Music newsletter here.


EPIC Music will offer a two week pilot program at St. Johnsbury School, the weeks of July 10 and 17. This will expand to a more extensive program during the school year. More information is coming soon.


We are looking for donations of violins of any size, from ¼ through full-size. If you have an instrument you would like to donate, please contact Anne Campbell at 802-748-2600, ext. 108 or