Summer 2012







Union City Music Project-Save the Date





This Summer Choose To Support Music For Social Change: Donate Now To The Union City Music Project!

Greetings from the UCMP!

Thank you so much for your continued support and for believing in the transformative power of music!

On Monday, June 25th, the UCMP launched its first ever one-month summer program at the Eugenio Maria de Hostos Early Childhood Education Center, in partnership with the Union City Board of Education. We are thrilled to be operating at full capacity in a very intensive program with 46 students, ages three to six. UCMP students are receiving three full hours of music instruction everyday and will have their very first student presentation on Friday June 29th. The summer program will finalize on July 24th and students will resume their music instruction in September.

If you would like to see this performance, please come this Friday June 29th at 2:00pm to the Eugenio Maria de Hostos Early Childhood Center! (Click for map) Please support the UCMP summer program by making a donation on our website or by sending a check. DONATE NOW!

The UCMP successfully ends its first session

Union City Music Project Parent Workshop

Catalyst Quartet violinist Karla Donehew Perez’s performs for the UCMP children. Click image to see photos.

The UCMP successfully concluded its introductory Paper Orchestra session on June 15th. Over the course of three months, 50 children ages three to six received a total of 50 hours of musical instruction, which included live performances, 6 parent workshops (see photos from one of our parent workshops) and opportunities to attend music events. Our program was visited by different organizations such as the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the Sphinx Organization, the Geraldine Dodge Foundation and individuals like author Tricia Tunstall and Telemundo’s on air talent Patsi Arias.

A big thanks to UCMP’s fabulous teaching staff: Samuel Marchan, our Music Director, and Graciela Barreto, our Music Immersion Teacher and Principal Adriana Birne for her unwavering support. We would also like to recognize all the parents for their involvement and commitment. This program would not have been possible without parental support. Our most heartfelt thanks to the 24 volunteer parents we had for helping us make this program successful.

UCMP is beginning to change lives!

Union City Music ProjectTo see pictures from our first session, please click here!

We have had parents say that they have noticed behavioral differences in their children as a result of their participation in the program, that they have seen them transform into happier and more engaged kids. The same is true for teachers who have reported improvement in students who were hyperactive and are now more focused. Other parents have said that their children cannot stop talking about what they learn during music classes and that they daydream about the day when they are finally given their real instrument. These are all qualitative measures that we will continue to track as the program expands in order to provide concrete results of our program.

UCMP in the media!

Union city Music Project Patsi AriasThe UCMP was featured in Telemundo’s Levántate morning show by Patsi Arias today, Wednesday June 27th. Click to go to Telemundo’s Levantate.

Union City Music Project, a website that focuses on the empowerment for Latina moms and families, published an article titled “Lessons from women who are living their dreams.” Please click here to check out their story.

Union City Music Project CNN Siempre MujerThe UCMP was featured on the Querer es Poder segment of CNN en Español, in partnership with Siempre Mujer magazine. Through this collaboration, CNN presents stories of people who make their dreams come true. Please click here to check out the videos about the UCMP.


Union City Music Project Samuel Marchan meets Maestro Abreu

Musicians of the Canaima Indigenous Youth Orchestra rehearsing for their annual performance in Canaima, Venezuela.

Starting next week, Mr Samuel Marchan, UCMP’s Music Director, will be traveling to the Venezuelan Amazon to hold a series of workshops with the Canaima Indigenous Youth Orchestra, the first indigenous youth orchestra in the world. He is going as part of the MESDA Group, (Music Education for Social Development Agency) a Harvard-based initiative, founded by a group of alums of the YOA Orchestra of the Americas. To learn more about MESDA, click here.

This has been a busy year for Mr Marchan. In April he had the opportunity to have a meeting with Maestro José Antonio Abreu, founder of El Sistema, to official present to him the work we have all been doing with the children of Union City. Maestro Abreu was very supportive and expressed great satisfaction about having the UCMP being the first El Sistema program in New Jersey.

In January, a latin jazz group Mr Marchan plays with, was recognized by Billboard with a 2011 best latin jazz arrangement award for Mark Weinstein and Aruan Ortiz’s El Cumbanchero.







Union City Music Project

Save The Date!

UCMP’s Second Annual Fundraising Event!


September 12th

Park Avenue Bar and Grill


3417 Park Avenue

Union City, NJ 07087

Click for more information.

Union city Music Project Samuel Marchan Maestro Abreu

In The News

UCMP’s Music Director, Samuel Marchan had the opportunity to have a meeting with Maestro José Antonio Abreu… Read more.

Union City Music Project Overpeck County Park

Upcoming Events

UCMP’s First Family Summer Picnic

On Saturday June 30th, the UCMP will have a family picnic at the Overpeck County Park (Click for map). Please mark your calendars and send an email to if you have any questions.

Union City Music Project Get Involved
Get Involved: The UCMP is a unique afterschool program that aims to change the lives of at-risk children through music.There are a number of ways you could get involved in the UCMP. Click to see the ways you can get involved now!
New york Foundation for the Arts
The Union City Music Project is a sponsored organization of the New York Foundation for the Arts, a 501 ©, tax-exempt organization. Contributions on behalf of the Union City Music Project must be made payble to the New York Foundation for the Arts, memo line: Union City Music Project.





Copyright © 2012 Union City Music Project, All rights reserved.






Spring 2012


The UCMP Launches Today, March 19th!


Papaer Instrument WorkshopWe are truly excited to inform you that the UCMP officially launches today, March 19th, at the Eugenio Maria de Hostos Early Childhood Education Center.


We will begin our program with a Paper Orchestra music immersion session that will last 12 weeks. Children will have classes Mondays and Fridays from 3:45-4:45PM.

A Paper Orchestra teaches children the fundamentals of playing in an orchestra with instruments made out of paper-mache. For younger children ages 3-6 entering an orchestral program, it is important to have a period of preparation that introduces them to the instrument, posture, and performance. During this time, students acquire basic musicianship skills and develop an appreciation for their instrument. Moreover, the physical creation of the paper instruments gives children and their parents a sense of ownership over their music education and helps to instill in them a sense of community within the program  


The application process began the first week of February and in just five days, we received close to 200 applications! A student selection committee reviewed all the applications and began to evaluate the students to determine their readiness for the program. The UCMP had initially planned for this session to be open for just 30 children, but after evaluating students and receiving many requests from parents, it was evident that we would have to let more children be part of this program. Starting today, 50 students from preschool through kindergarten will participate in this session that will finalize with a student recital. Once students finish the Paper Orchestra, they will transition into real instruments. 


Choosing only 50 children from such a big pool of applicants was a very difficult task. However, at this time, we cannot jeopardize quality for quantity. If your child did not make it this time, please know that he or she will have the opportunity to be part of the program in September. A very special thanks to Mrs Adriana Birne and her staff, and Superintendent Stanley Sanger for all their help and support in bringing this program to our community.  


We would also like to thank all the parents for their enthusiasm and commitment to making the UCMP a great success!


Please remember to like our page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!


Thank you so much for your continued support and for believing in the power of music to change lives and transform our community!


Make a Donation Now!   


UCMP Happenings

Paper Instrument Workshop Paper Instrument Workshop I

On March 12, the UCMP held its first workshop on how to build paper instruments with participating children and their parents in preparation for the launch of the program. The evening began with welcoming remarks by Principal Adriana Birne and UCMP’s founder Melina García followed by a live performance by UCMP’s Music Director Samuel Marchan, violinist Luis Casal, and violist Peter Borten. After the presentation, the eager parents and children started working on cutting the models of the violins and assembling some of the parts of their instruments. This workshop will be continued today. Take a look at some of the pictures from this very exciting evening.

Union City Music Project UCMP Has a Brand New Website
Please take a moment to look at our new website, which has lots of information, photos and videos. It was designed by Wilbert Gutierrez, UCMP’s Art Director. Please take a look and send us your feedback!



Take a Stand Symposium UCMP at the Take a Stand Symposium

From January 30 through February 1, 2012, the UCMP was part of the Take a Stand Symposium, a conference organized by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Bard College, and the Longy School of Music which brought together all El Sistema-inspired programs in the US and from abroad. As many as 300 music and social change advocates from 27 states and 13 countries were part of this conference, which included a surprise keynote presentation from Maestro José Antonio Abreu, founder of el El Sistema. Please click here to see more photos. 




We are happy to announce that the UCMP was invited to submit a proposal to the Geraldine Dodge Foundation for a chance to receive a $25,000 grant. And in January, the UCMP received a grant from the Swyn Family Foundation. We continue to work on finding ways to raise funds. If you are familiar with fundraising and or grant writing, please get in touch with us by sending an e-mail to 


Please click here to make a tax-deductible donation now.


Changing Lives: Gustavo Dudamel Changing Lives, a new Book about El Sistema

If you would like to learn more about El Sistema, please read Changing Lives: Gustavo Dudamel, El Sistema and the transformative power of music, written by Tricia Tunstall. Please click here to get a copy today!



The Ensemble, El Sistema USA Newsletter

The Ensemble is a monthly newsletter that covers El Sistema programs in the US. It’s published by arts educator and author Eric Booth and author Tricia Tunstall. Please download it here and share it! (PDF)


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Fall 2011

Fall Update on the Union City Music Project

Union city Music Project photos


Greetings from the UCMP. Thank you so much for your interest in this wonderful program that seeks to change lives through music. Once selected to participate in the UCMP, your child will have a wide-range of opportunities: academic support, pathways into new passions, field trips, and of course, opportunities to learn, create, perform and explore the limitless world of music.

The orchestra is at the center of this program because it embodies a collaborative and caring community; each child is essential as an individual orchestra member, yet no child can play a symphony alone. Once the program starts, your child will be interacting with many other students from around the neighborhood from the moment they walk into the door and have the opportunity to be guided by top music instructors who will also serve as their mentors. We are excited to create a program that will guide your children through their school years and beyond!


Application Process

We are still working on setting a date for the application process to begin and as soon as the information becomes available, you will be notified. We apologize for the delay.


UCMP’s First Benefit Event
As part of our promotional and fundraising efforts, the UCMP is having it’s first event on November 16th. Please join us and help us spread the word! Tickets start at $50 dollars but if you cannot contribute that much, please give anything you can. As parents, it is very important that you be involved and that you support all our efforts. 



Saludos Melina; 


Saludos del UCMP. Muchas gracias por su interés en este programa que busca cambiar vidas a través de la música. Al ser seleccionado para participar en el UCMP, su hijo (a)  tendrá acceso a una gran variedad de oportunidades: apoyo académico, incentivos para encontrar nuevos horizontes, excursiones culturales y, por supuesto, oportunidades para aprender, crear, interpretar y explorar el maravilloso mundo de la música.


La base de este programa es la orquesta, pues, ella representa a una comunidad que 
colabora y cuida de lo suyo. Como miembro individual de la orquesta, cada niño es clave. Sin embargo, una sinfonía no puede ser ejecutada por un solo niño.  Desde el momento en que su niño (a) comience a ser parte del UCMP, interactuará no solo con otros estudiantes de la comunidad sino que también se beneficiará al tener maestros de alto nivel de experiencia musical que además servirán como mentores. ¡Estamos contentos de poder crear un programa que guiará a sus niños (as) durante los años escolares y mucho más allá! 


El proceso de inscripciones aún no ha comenzado. Tan pronto estemos listos les notificaremos immediatamente. Disculpen la tardanza.

Primer Evento Benéfico Anual del UCMP
El 16 de noviembre, el UCMP llevará a cabo su primer evento benéfico anual con el fin de recaudar fondos para el programa. Por favor, particípe y ayúdenos regando la voz entre sus amigos, familia y otros miembros de la comunidad. El precio de los tickets es de $50, pero si no puede contribuir con esta suma, por favor contribuya lo que esté a su alcance. Es muy importante que como representantes y miembros de esta comunidad participen y colaboren con lo que sea posible. 

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Union City Music Project | 509 32nd Street, Suite 3 | Union City | NJ | 07087

Winter 2011

Happy Holiday Season!


Happy Holiday Season!

The UCMP would like to wish you all the love and happiness this season can bring, and for it to follow you throughout the upcoming New Year. Thank you for your support!

UCMP First Benefit Event
Click to see the pictures of UCMP’s First Benefit Event

This has indeed been a very exciting year for the UCMP. It was only a short year ago that the idea of creating the UCMP came to life after watching this TED video. Since then, we have been working very hard to make this a long-lasting project that will benefit not just children and families but the entire Union City community.

The UCMP was incorporated in the beginning of October as a non-profit organization and two weeks later, after submitting an application, the UCMP was awarded a fiscal sponsorship by Artspire, a program from the New York Foundation for the Arts, one of the country’s most respected arts institutions. Thanks to this fiscal sponsorship, the UCMP can receive tax-deductible donations and apply for public and private grants. And this past November, the UCMP put together two very special events, which you can read about below.

We are truly looking forward to starting 2012 as we gear up to launching the first two sites at the Eugenio Maria de Hostos Early Childhood Center and at Veterans Memorial School.  We are working out the details to begin the application process as soon as possible. The start date is solely dependent on funding, so we highly encourage you to continue supporting us by spreading the word or becoming involved. This is a community-based organization and we need all members of the community to be supportive in whatever way possible. If you would like to volunteer your time or if you have suggestions in terms of fundraising or contacts you would like to share, please get in touch with us and e-mail us at

Also, please remember to like our page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

UCMP videoUCMP’s Video 


This is a video we showed during the UCMP’s event. If you have not seen it, please do so here and share it with family and friends. Word of mouth is also a great way you can support us!

Watch the video now!



Thank you so much for your continued support and for believing in the power of music to change lives and transform our community!

Make a Donation Now!


On the News!

The UCMP has been featured in the media through different news organizations. Please take a look and share the latest article written by Gennarose Pope from the Hudson Reporter. Click here.

UCMP Happenings!

UCMP hosts Brazilian Youth Orchestra at the Union City High School  

Brazilian Youth Orchestra Mariuccia Iacovino
Brazilian Youth Orchestra Mariuccia Iacovino performing at the Union City High School. Click to see al the pictures.

On Tuesday November 22nd, the UCMP hosted the Brazilian Youth Orchestra Mariuccia Iacovino at the Union City High School. Eighty-eight young musicians from an underserved area of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, delighted the audience with a wide range of music genres, including samba, capoeira and carnival marches. The musicians, who are between the ages of 11 to 18, were on their first U.S. tour to perform at Carnegie Hall and this was their only performance in NJ. 


The level of musicianship from this youth orchestra was truly remarkable. They captivated the audience from beginning to end and they in turn gave them multiple standing ovations throughout their performance. The grand finale included a magical transformation into a carnival festivity with costumes and colorful paper confetti that had audience members on their feet, dancing samba together with the musicians.


Named after the legendary Brazilian violinist and teacher, Mariuccia Iacovino, this orchestra is part of “Orquestando A Vida,” a 30-year-old social program, also inspired by El Sistema, which provides social development through orchestral and choral practice to hundreds of children and youth in Campos dos Goytacazes, in Rio de Janeiro. 


This event was made possible thanks to a unique collaboration between Azlo Music Productions, the Union City Music Project, Mayor Brian P. Stack’s office and the Board of Education. A very special thanks to Superintendent Stanley Sanger, UCHS Principal John Benetti and Mrs. Mirtha Serret, District’s Fine and Performing Arts Supervisor for all their support and hard work coordinating this event.


See all the pictures here.


UCMP’s First Annual Benefit Event   

UCMP First Annual Benefit Event
UCMP First Annual Benefit Event. Click here for more pictures

On November 16th, the UCMP had its first annual benefit event and it was truly a night to remember.  Over 150 people were present at the William V. Musto Cultural Center, which was beautifully transformed into a music wonderland with decorations made by Sara Foldenawer of Setsbysara, one of New York’s most sought-after stage and prop design firms, and lighting and sound by Michael Nazario from Space Sound Studios.

Guests enjoyed various cocktails and appetizers from Las Palmas Restaurant and musical performances by the Latin Jazz Element, violist and UCMP Music Director Samuel Marchan, pianist and Abreu Fellow David Gracia, harpist Rolnand Perez, violinist and violist Peter Borten, mezzo-soprano Bernadette LaFond, pianist Marina Korsakova-Kreyn and a very special performance by the Gilmore Children Choir directed by Graciela Barreto and young violist Rebecca Marchan.  

The night also included beautiful works of art by visual artists Leandro Comrie who created a beautiful portrait of conductor Gustavo Dudamel, sculptures by Colombian visual artist Lina Puerta and paintings by Colombian painter Alexis Duque. 

We would like to thank Mayor Brain. P Stack, Commissioner Chris Irizarry and Superintendent Stanley Sanger for all their support for this event. And a very special thanks to all the volunteers and people involved in making this event possible. Thank you so much!




We are happy to announce that the UCMP received its first grant from the Carvel Foundation last month. This is an important accomplishment for the UCMP, considering that we only became incorporated this past October. We are in the process of applying to various grants and approaching private corporations for sponsorships. If you have not done so already, please consider making a contribution to the UCMP. Any donation will help to bring music to a Union City child. Please help us make a difference! 


Please click here to make a tax-deductible donation now.


El Sistema USA Newsletter

The Ensemble is a monthly newsletter that covers El Sistema programs in the US. It’s published by arts educator and author Eric Booth,  Please download it here and share it! (PDF)



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Union City Music Project | 509 32nd Street, Suite 3 | Union City | NJ | 07087