Members of the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA), led by Los Angeles Philharmonic Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, shared a Super Bowl stage with Coldplay, Bruno Mars and Beyoncé. This was big news—not only for the world of classical music but also for the children who performed with grace and style on that February day.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic is recognized as one of the world’s outstanding orchestras. Marking its 98th season in 2016/17, the orchestra confirms its ongoing commitment to groundbreaking programming, both on stage and in the community.

Modeled after Venezuela’s El Sistema program, which helped to shape Dudamel, YOLA is changing lives. Thanks to the LA Phil and its community partners, YOLA establishes youth orchestra programs, providing free instruments, intensive music training and academic support to students from underserved neighborhoods, while empowering them to become vital citizens, leaders and agents of change. The program currently serves nearly 800 students aged 12-17 at three branches.

Before YOLA, children in working-class neighborhoods in LA often had little or no knowledge of classical (or “orchestral”) music. But when kids are given the opportunity and encouragement to study music, the possibilities for them are endless. As a 14-year-old YOLA violinist who played at the Super Bowl explains, “We can be the change; that’s what I was feeling.”

YOLA continues to expand its musical horizons. The young musicians have played at the Barbican Centre in London and Suntory Hall in Tokyo. Now, in honor of YOLA’s 10th anniversary, an orchestra made up of 80 of the program’s most advanced students will embark on a series of concerts throughout California.

Dudamel reflects that “it has been a dream to see YOLA grow and to watch how these students have changed on an artistic level, and also as citizens.”

Schultz & Williams is grateful to work with LA Phil and in support of Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel’s YOLA program.

To read more about the YOLA preformance at this year’s Super Bowl 50 click