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Department of Wonder


This is a poem originally written a couple of years ago, but modified for the May 7 Los Angeles Philharmonic concert at the Granada, with Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel. It was based on seeing the documentary Tocar y Luchar, about the Venezuelan system of teaching classical music.

The Dude and the System

A system of creativity and passion
Is being recognized all over the world
The concept is simple, but the young learn it best.

The glow in the faces of the Sistema de Venezuela
Opened my department of wonder as I watched them play

The Dude and his compañeros remind me how wrong it is to believe
You can, and she is, and I am
But they can’t.

Welcome to Santa Barbara young dude
Already you have opened my eyes and ears.
Venezuela is more than oil and Angel Falls

It has you and the Sistema Musica.
So step right up to the podium.
And take me on a magic carpet ride.

—Joel Goldberg, S.B.

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