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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 Artistic Director Jason Bergman, Teaching Artist Marshall Meade, and guest teaching artists. It is inspired by the global El Sistema movement.

Information on programming for the 2021-22 school year is at the bottom of this page.


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 or low cost instruments, 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 2021-22

Current students: Enrollment for students who participated in 2020-21 will take place at the beginning of September. Programming will begin the week of September 13, with private lessons on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and orchestra rehearsals on Thursdays. Tuesday and Thursday programming will be at Union Baptist Church on Rt. 5 in Waterford, while Wednesday lessons will take place at St. Johnsbury School, on Western Avenue in St. Johnsbury.

Current families who are paying tuition in full online can do so HERE.

Here is a link to our fall music: recordings, scores, and individual parts for Go Tell Aunt Rhody, May Song, Allegro, and Angeline the Baker.  

More EPIC Music:

New students: We are currently in the process of hiring an additional teacher; when we have done so, we will open enrollment to new students as well as those who have participated in EPIC Music summer camp only. If you are interested in receiving information about enrollment, please contact Anne Campbell at or 802-748-2600, ext. 109.

COVID Policy: Aligned with recommendations from the CDC and Vermont Department of Health regarding indoor spaces, and in keeping with the policies in place at St. Johnsbury School, we are currently requiring that all students, staff, teaching artists, family and visitors wear masks, whether vaccinated or not. This policy is subject to change at any time in response to changing public health conditions and guidance from state and federal agencies. In addition, we request that any child that is sick on any given day, or who has been exposed to someone with Covid-19, remain at home.