INGLEWOOD – After months of delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Inglewood’s Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center held its long-awaited ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, October 16.
The morning celebration, which took place just outside the front entrance of the center, included a brief musical performance from YOLA and LA Phil musicians, along with words from Mayor James T. Butts, LA Phil CEO Chad Smith, and Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel. The event also included an optional guided tour throughout campus, giving the public their first inside look at YOLA students’ new home.
The Inglewood YOLA Center provides free music education to students throughout Los Angeles County communities. Mayor Butts recalled negotiating with LA Phil CEO Chad Smith during the beginning stages of this initiative. Butts had insisted that, at minimum, 51 percent of the Beckmen YOLA Center students would be Inglewood residents. At the Saturday ceremony, the mayor was proud to announce that the center has far exceeded that goal. In this incoming class of students at the Beckmen YOLA Center, 81 percent are Inglewood residents.
“We have looked forward to this day for so long, and our anticipation was only amplified during the pandemic when children were unable to attend in-person classes. This building, and the YOLA program, bring so much to the Inglewood and Greater Los Angeles communities, not just as students, but as a resource for parents, educators, and administrators as well,” said Mayor Butts.
Classes at the Beckmen YOLA Center began in September and consists of 126 students, Grades 1-5. The building holds spaces for orchestra, sectional, chamber, and individual practice. There is also a choir room, an ensemble room, and a small practice studio, which are designed with recording capabilities to assist students as they audition for high school and college.
“These are the musicians and the citizens who are going to grow into the leaders of tomorrow,” said LA Phil CEO Chad Smith.