By Brea Mitchell, Staff Writer
The Inglewood YOLA Center (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) is currently under construction at the corner of Manchester Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, and is expected to open in 2021. The nonprofit organization will provide Inglewood youth with access to free after-school music programming, along with free instruments. The 25,000-square-foot facility will also serve as rehearsal and performance space, where students and families will gather and immerse in community and music.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic, also known as the LA Phil, founded in 1919, is a Los Angeles-based orchestra that has been a major international influence in the culture of music for decades upon decades, producing concerts at the Hollywood Bowl since 1922, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall since 2003.
But the well-decorated orchestra is no stranger to community outreach. Four other YOLA Centers are currently thriving. With the goal of providing high-quality music education to youth in communities that are often overlooked, the first YOLA Center opened its doors in 2007 at Exposition Park in South L.A.
Other locations include the Rampart District since 2010, East L.A. since 2014, and Westlake/MacArthur Park since 2017 – each location providing students with not only elite music programs and instruction, but also academic guidance, life skills, mentorship, and perhaps most important, a sense of community and belonging.
As Inglewood prepares to house the fifth YOLA Center, families and youth could see exponential benefits– the benefits of an easily-assessable center with top-tier educators and instruction, all within the community. Opening these often-closed gates inevitably plays the imperative role of nurturing and developing children’s passions and interests that can potentially blossom far beyond an after-school activity. But make no mistake, even if the YOLA Center is simply an after-school activity for a child to spend some quality time during the evening hours, many would be surprised by the community, sense of belonging, and self-esteem boost that such environment may bring. This is what unlocks aspirations and dreams, often leading our youth into a prosperous and purposeful life.