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Opus Today

This season marks the 10-year anniversary of the Community Opus Project. Over 100 of its past musicians are now learning in SDYS’ Conservatory programs on weekends in Balboa Park. Opus’ co-founder musicians, who were in third grade in 2010, are now graduating high school and the Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD) now offers music education to over 20,000 students at 32 schools.

With the continued reinstatement of music education in CVESD, SDYS has shifted ownership of after-school music programs to district-hired music teachers. SDYS now directly supports six after-school music programs led by a CVESD music teacher, in-school instrumental coaching in the classroom at 18 sites during the school day, professional development for all CVESD music teachers, and advocates for quality music education in the Chula Vista community.

The History

San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory (SDYS) believes every student deserves music education for the lifetime of joy it provides and the habits, skills and traits students acquire that will improve their academic, personal and professional lives. Unfortunately, public school budget cuts have made it inaccessible for many students. Determined to use its resources to reverse that trend, in 2010 SDYS adopted a long-term vision of “making music education accessible and affordable for all.” To achieve this goal, it launched the Community Opus Project to demonstrate the positive effects of learning music by providing free afterschool music instruction, engaging the parents, educating the community, and persuading school districts to reinstate district-wide music instruction.

For the pilot program, SDYS partnered with the Chula Vista Elementary School District, which had not provided school-day music instruction for more than 15 years. SDYS began by providing free afterschool instrumental instruction to 65 third-graders at two schools. The positive effects on the students were apparent so quickly that in 2013 CVESD committed to reinstating in-school music instruction so that all of its nearly 30,000 students would be able to learn music.

SDYS, CVESD and other local partners continue to collaborate to make high-quality music instruction available for all students. Students, families and other residents from all parts of Chula Vista will come together around the shared joy of learning, performing and experiencing beautiful music.

For more information about our Opus Project, contact Brianda Felix, Community Program Coordinator, at


GIAreader: Grantmakers in the Arts

“Disrupting the Status Quo” – El Sistema, the Community Opus Project, and School Reform in the Chula Vista Elementary School District

Stand For Your Mission

The Power of Board Advocacy: A Discussion Guide for Boards

Arts Education Retakes the Stage in California Schools

California School Board Magazine | May 1, 2016

More Information

For more information about our Opus Project, contact Brianda Felix, Community Program Coordinator, at


Community Opus Project Supporters & Partners

Chula Vista Elementary School District
Sweetwater Union High School District
Visual and Performing Arts
San Diego County Office of Education
Visual and Performing Arts
Kellogg Elementary
Rodgers Elementary
Veterans Elementary
Castle Park Middle
Chula Vista Middle
Hilltop Middle
Castle Park High
Chula Vista High
Chula Vista Community Collaborative
Arts Empower San Diego
South Bay Community Services
Chula Vista Promise Neighborhood
South Bay Alliance for Arts Education
UC San Diego Center for Human
UC San Diego Extension Academic
SDSU School of Music
San Diego Symphony
South Bay Family YMCA
STEAM Connect
La Jolla Music Society
California Alliance for Arts Education
El Sistema USA
The Ensemble
ICAN, Santa Barbara
League of American Orchestras
Longy School of Music at Bard College
National Endowment for the Arts
Sistema Global
Support Music Coalition
VH1 Save The Music Foundation
VYMA — Verdugo Young Musicians
Association, Pasadena
The Weill Music Institute, Carnegie Hall
Yale School of Music
YOLA, LA Philharmonic


Chula Vista Elementary School District
Sweetwater Union High School District
City of Chula Vista Cultural Arts
City of San Diego Commission for Arts
and Culture
County of San Diego Neighborhood
Reinvestment Program
California Arts Council
National Endowment for the Arts
US Department of Education – Promise


Arthur P Pratt & Jeanette Gladys Pratt
Memorial Fund
Christopher C. Collins Foundation
Christopher Weil & Co
Clarence E. Heller Foundation
Crossroads II Corporation
Cubic Corporation
D’Addario Foundation
David C. Copley Foundation
Ford Motor Company Fund/San Diego
County Ford Dealers
Goodrich/Rohr Employees Fund
James Irvine Foundation
Kinder Morgan
James Lauer Fund at The San Diego
League of American Orchestras/Getty
Legler-Benbough Foundation
Mandell Weiss Charitable Trust
Masserini Charitable Trust
NAMM Foundation
Nordson Corporation Foundation
Opus Community Foundation
Price Family Charitable Fund
ResMed Foundation
Samuel H. French III and Katherine Weaver
French Fund
Samuel I. & John Henry Fox Foundation
Sidney Stern Memorial Trust
Southwest Chula Vista Civic Association
The Parker Foundation
Thomas C. Ackerman Foundation
U.S. Bancorp Foundation
Union Bank Foundation
VH1 Save The Music Foundation
Walter J. and Betty C. Zable Foundation
Weingart Foundation
Wells Fargo Foundation
San Diego Youth Symphony