Name: Silas de Oliveira
Organization: El Sistema Somerville
Title: Assistant Artistic Director
Music Genre: Classical
Years in the Field: 16
What do you do at El Sistema Somerville?
I’m responsible for curriculum planning, staff schedule, students engagement activities, parents integration, and etc. …
Why do you do what you do?
I do what I do because is a calling to serve my community and my peers. As an immigrant to the USA, I know firsthand the struggles immigrants go through. As a musician, I know how important it is to have exposure to high quality music lessons and instruments. I grew up in Brazil where I was unable to study cello. The only way I had access to music was in a church band learning alto sax and trumpet.
What comes easiest to you in this work?
I would say my connection with the students. I try everyday to make sure that they understand that I’m one of them and no matter how old you are, or how much education you’ve received or any other label society might put on us, we are one. We are humans beings that should respect and be respected. I strive to provide an environment where expressive creativity reigns free.
What challenges you in this work?
My constant awareness of the students’ cultural links, from video games, music hits, movies, lingo, books, etc… I feel that awareness of these factors can have a profound impact in your connectivity with them and their world.
What does it mean to do this work in this community?
I feel that the great Somerville community always has been very welcoming and accepting, and respects and invests in their citizens. Somerville was my first home in the USA, Somerville High School was my first school in the USA, and Somerville String Camp was where I met my beloved music teacher, Rita Ranucci, who inspired me not only to become a cellist, but also a teacher. I’m honored to be working in the field and continuing her legacy in Somerville.
How do you blow off steam?
There are different things I like to do from skydiving, to sometimes just playing mini golf, or driving to North Conway, NH.
What do you create in your free time?
I love doing research on world cultures, practicing my cello or another instrument to better guide a student.
Whose work in the creative youth development field do you admire and why?
Eric Booth, he inspires me to always rethink, rearrange, and reshape my views, my teaching, and my planning.
What music do you like listen to (if even a little too loudly)?
Currently I’m addicted to Anitta and Antonio Meneses.
Do you live with any animals?
Yes, my husband and I just got a puppy – a Chow Chow named Bach.
Seen any good movies lately?
Despicable Me 3
What are you currently reading?
Quiet Leadership: Six Steps to Transforming Performance at Work by David Rock
The unauthorized biography of your life is titled:
Did He Really?
Having a baby, and hopefully getting my masters in Conducting.