Covenanter Has Big Dreams for Student Musicians

Post a Comment » Written on January 3rd, 2008     
Filed under: News
WINNETKA, CA (January 3, 2007) – Joel Valle studied music at the National Conservatory of Lima, Peru. So what is he doing teaching children from the neighborhood in this Los Angeles area community?

“I believe music is crucial to the development of a human being,” says Valle, worship leader at Nueva Vision Covenant Church. “It helps to mold an individual’s character, and to make that person more sensible. Music is one of the many gifts that God has given man, and with it, one must seek to glorify him.”

Valle hopes to glorify God through New Vision Community Music School, a non-profit organization he founded and directs. The school opened in May 2005.

The school only offered piano less to begin with. Valle and his daughter Betsy were the only teachers for the 12 enrolled students.

The school now educates 50 young people, and has hired musicians to teach piano, drums, bass, and guitar. Students—most between five and 15 years old—are able to learn from professional musicians. The cost is between $10 and $50, depending on a student’s ability to pay. No one is turned away.

The students recently performed one of the school’s three annual concerts. Performances included solos, duets and several bands. Music varied from classical to contemporary. The concerts attract roughly 160 people, Valle says.

“I have big goals,” Valle recently told a local newspaper. “I don’t want to see these children just playing an instrument. I’d like to see them form part of a very special philharmonic. I’m placing all my efforts in it because I see a big potential in them and would not want it to be washed away.”

Valle, who is 50, began his own musical education in Peru by taking piano lessons when he was seven years old. He trained to be a worship leader and music director while still a teenager. He later attended several music academies in addition to the Lima conservatory. The virtuoso also plays the flute.

Encouraging faith as well as musical gifts, also is a goal, Valle says. “Most of the kids did not attend our church, but some have started to attend. We also have students that come from other churches, which do not have a music school.”

Valle hopes to minister to more than the children.

“We try to involve parents and students with the Awana ministry, which, on Fridays, holds meetings 30 minutes after the music classes are done.”

Valle has been at the church since 1998, when he came to the Untied States. His older brother, Gamaniel, is the pastor.

The church gives $300 a month to help fund the school’s annual budget, which is less than $20,000. Pacific Southwest Conference Women Ministries Commission provided a $2,000 grant, the largest ever by the commission. The budget includes money for the teachers, who are paid $12.50 an hour and teach an average of six hours a week.

Valle hopes to expand the number of teachers and instruments.

“We would like to add other instruments such as woodwind, brass and string instruments, but it is difficult to find music teachers that are willing to teach for such a low salary, for most music teachers earn $25 per half-hour for each student. We hope that with God’s help we will find more music teachers as well as increase our budget, so that we can offer more classes,” he says.

The Tarzana/Encino Rotary Club provided money for a new keyboard, and Valle says he hopes to work with other organizations. For more information on the music program or to help sponsor the school, call (818) 710-9934.

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