Changing Young Lives With Music

Since its founding in 2011, Greater Milwaukee El Sistema (GMES) has served over 175 elementary school students in Waukesha. We are committed to providing safe, quality music education and opportunities to our students.

Our Mission

The mission of Greater Milwaukee El Sistema (GMES) is to participate in the global movement to create community connection through music. Named after the original “El Sistema” in Venezuela, GMES is inspired to transform the lives of students by providing them with skill-based music classes. Group based and community driven, classes strongly emphasize peer support and mentoring, as well as performance experience.

Want to help?

  • Arrive fifteen minutes early to help set up food
  • Bring a simple salad, fruit plate or dessert to share
  • Sit in on one or more 20 minute practice sessions (music knowledge not necessary) to provide Safe Sanctuary for each child
  • Play some games with the children—get to know the families!
  • If you play violin, viola or cello, teach a twenty minute lesson!

The goals here are clear: let’s connect our families and our resources to create a safe place for all to gather, share a meal, have some fun, and get in a few more licks on those violins, violas, and cellos!

Contact Sarena Lawrence at gmelsistema@gmail.com or Kelly Schmitt at kmkdschmitt@hotmail.com for more information on how you can volunteer!

To view location and information about First United Methodist Church Waukesha, go to http://www.fumcwaukesha.org/

Help Support El Sistema

Even if you couldn’t make our Gala, you can submit your donation by check made out and sent to

Greater Milwaukee El Sistema
2101 Springdale Rd
Waukesha, WI 53186

or by credit card.  You can also make a lump sum donation or pay monthly or quarterly by clicking on the Donate Now button on this website.  Sustaining monthly donations are especially helpful as we work together to move this program forward.

Any way you can, won’t you please consider an El Sistema gift this year?  We promise that every penny is carefully allocated: our staff are lean (and not mean!), our Board is a “roll-up-your-sleeves” group, and our overhead is minimal.  We are young, but growing, and our vision is clearly pointed to the future.

Dr. Larry Harper, Board Past-President




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