Arts and entertainment news, features and event previews from New Jersey.


originally published: 11/21/2022

(WEEHAWKEN, NJ) — United Children’s Music Project (UCMP) will be holding its 10th anniversary event on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. at Weehawken’s Chart House (1700 Harbor Boulevard). At this special celebration, UCMP will honor Supporters Richard F. Turner, Mayor of Weehawken, Enrique Márquez (Asst. Dean, Manhattan School of Music), Amelia Gold (Deputy Headmistress/Artistic Director of the Elisabeth Morrow School) and Bernice Fleischer (Deputy Art).

Since its inception in 2012, UCMP has served as a grassroots music immersion program for 54 preschoolers in Union City Hundreds of Hudson County 3- to 18-year-olds through its transformative after-school music classes, free instruments and Performance opportunities in the NY/NJ metropolitan area.

“We are very happy to personally applaud these important supporters and especially the amazing students, parents and teachers of UCMP and our communities for supporting UCMP as it has continued to minister to Hudson County children over the past decade—especially during the Covid Lockdown,” said Melina Garcia, Founder and Executive Director of UCMP.

For nearly two years during the pandemic, UCMP’s after-school music classes have been online and hybrid for about 120 Students as of March 2020. UCMP eventually returned to classroom instruction at UCMP’s program site in February 2022 in Weehawken.

Garcia explained how UCMP is transforming not only the enrolled children and youth, but their families and communities as well.

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“UCMP students are regularly accepted into gifted and talented schools like Sara M. Gilmore Academy in Union City, New York Special Music School and Juilliard’s Music Advancement Program,” she said. “Our young musicians will remain so successful in other areas of their lives. UCMP high school seniors have attended universities such as NYU, Rider, and others Rutgers with full scholarships.”

“Right now, children and young people are having to grapple with the impact of the pandemic on emotional distress and struggles at school.” continued Garcia. “Now more than ever, children need a place where they can feel safe, express themselves, connect with others and rebuild their self-confidence and acquire skills that will serve them for a lifetime. They need a place like UCMP.”

UCMP’s program is based on El Sistema (“The System”) created in 1975 by Venezuelan economist/musician José Antonio Abreu, whose initiative has saved thousands of children and youth from poverty, bad schools, drug abuse and more Crime in more than 30 countries.

Since 2007, El Sistema-inspired orchestral music programs like UCMP have been offered in over 140 US cities America’s Underserved Children. They see fewer absenteeism from school, improved grades, less juvenile delinquency and teenage pregnancies and increased rates of high school graduation and pursuit of higher education.

Ensure that Hudson County children receive low-cost, free instruments and a quality music education from preschool through high school just like wealthier counties, has been one of UCMP’s focuses since it launched its first cohort of students in 2012.

“Children deserve and need quality music education that is actually affordable,” Garcia said. “We are happy that we can do this To provide such opportunities to children and families in Weehawken, Union City, North Bergen, West New York and Jersey City and beyond through our program in Weehawken.”

Gala tickets are available for purchase on-line.

United Children’s Music Project (UCMP) is a non-profit organization that provides intensive, low-cost orchestral music education, group and private lessons, and regular performing opportunities to urban children in Hudson County, NJ. UCMP envisions a world where children and youth develop academic and life skills through increased access to affordable, quality music and arts education, and opportunities to help them reach their full potential.