Alumni in action: The transfer experience with Edwin Santiago

It’s National Transfer Student Week! Many people only picture high school students when thinking about college admissions, but transferring colleges is far more common than you might expect. Check out HP Alum Edwin Santiago’s experience with transferring from Santa Monica College to the University of California, Santa Barbara:


Edwin Santiago

HP SITE: Hollywood, Class of 2015


I had a great transfer experience. Going to a Santa Monica College was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. City college prepared me for the university experience at my pace and I wasn’t forced to change environments drastically, but ease into it.

My favorite part of going to SMC is that I had professors teaching my classes who also taught at schools like UCLA and LMU. I had these amazing professors preparing me for the UC system without having me feel overwhelmed or nervous. I took 3 upper division courses over the summer at UCSB so that I could get a feel for the quick paced classes and that was also a great decision, because now that Fall quarter has begun, I feel very sure of my priorities and course load management. I feel ready to take on the challenges of the UC system.

Florida Georgia Line, CMA Foundation, U.S. Bank, & HP Alumni surprise Harmony Project students with an unforgettable night at the Novo

What a day! The CMA Songwriters Series Presented by U.S. Bank came to town and left a huge impact on Harmony Project students! Here’s a recap of the surprise-filled day.

Alumni in action

The day began with the arrival of HP Alumni volunteers Leilani, Hugo, and Matthew who each shared their unique journeys through Harmony Project programming and beyond with a film crew.

Preparation is key

It takes a lot of coordination to surprise our clever students! More alumni, staff, and U.S. Bank volunteers spent the morning carefully prepping instruments at the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center for the night’s reveal.

Surprise #1: A dream come true for Matt

Country music fan and incredibly talented HP Alum Matthew received an all-access invitation from the CMA Foundation to attend the upcoming CMA Awards this November!

Surprise #2: Florida Georgia Line crashes exclusive Songwriters Workshop

After a quick trip over to the Novo at LA Live and the arrival of Harmony Project students from across the city, everyone gathered around for a deep-dive discussion with CMA songwriters Corey Crowder, Ernest K., HARDY, RaeLynn, Canaan Smith, and a surprise visit from headliners Florida Georgia Line

Surprise #3: Instruments for all!

Finally, just before settling in for the Songwriter Series concert, every Harmony Project student in attendance was surprised with a brand new instrument courtesy of U.S. Bank!

Special thanks to the CMA Foundation, U.S. Bank, and all the HP alumni & helpers for putting together an unforgettable day for Harmony Project musicians!

Newcomers and veteran staff recognized at 3rd annual Teaching Artist Appreciation & Awards Luncheon

Every fall, Harmony Project devotes a special day to recognizing the unwavering talents and dedication of our professional staff with our annual Teaching Artist Appreciation & Awards Luncheon. This year, the event took place at the Luxe Hotel and featured the introduction of new staff members, program highlights, and an awards ceremony.

Congratulations to our 2018 honorees!

Excellence in Teaching and Service

Mara Hall, Leimert Park

Danny Levin, Hollywood

Erick Jovel, EXPO

Most Outstanding Site

Leimert Park

Harmony Project’s success would not be possible without our team of expert teaching artists putting in the daily work to promote musical excellence and create a safe place for youth to be creative and grow. HP TA’s, we appreciate you and all you do!

Jackson State University welcomes Harmony Project's Leimert Park Funk Orchestra after months of fundraising

It’s been a busy summer for Harmony Project’s Leimert Park Funk Orchestra, but after months of fundraising, performances, and outreach their efforts have finally paid off. The group of 20 students led by teaching artist and Jackson State University (JSU) alum Mara Hall have raised $10,000 to travel to JSU’s annual high school/community college day.

Check out the full coverage of their time at JSU via the Jackson State Newsroom!

The Funk Orchestra also documented their trip with a Harmony Project Instagram takeover.

Mara was also recently recognized for her Excellence in Teaching and Service at Harmony Project’s Teaching Artist Appreciation & Awards Luncheon. Leimert Park also received the title of Most Outstanding Site.

Congratulations to the Leimert Park Funk Orchestra on your successful fundraising - your perseverance is truly inspiring!

photo courtesy of    Jackson State Newsroom

photo courtesy of Jackson State Newsroom

Harmony Project musicians ‘Celebrate LA’ with Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil

Last week, Harmony Project joined LA Phil, CicLAvia and Community Arts Resources (CARS) in imagining the streets of Los Angeles without cars for Celebrate LA!

The massive, free, eight-mile street party connecting Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl featured performances from Harmony Project's YOLA at EXPO and Banda musicians, Regional Youth Orchestra Mariachi, Hollywood Jazz Band, and Leimert Park Drumline. Check out these highlights from the festival!

CMA Songwriters to make music with Harmony Project students ahead of Florida Georgia Line performance

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The CMA Songwriters Series Presented by U.S. Bank is set to arrive in LA Wednesday, Oct. 10 at The Novo, LA Live and will feature four-time CMA Award-winning duo Florida Georgia Line. Before hitting the stage, Harmony Project students will participate in an exclusive Songwriters Workshop with some of the critically acclaimed writers performing alongside FGL that night, including Corey Crowder, HARDY, and Tree Vibez Music. Students will bring their original, in-progress music projects to work on with the expertise of experienced CMA songwriters at their hands, and while connecting with other student musicians.

Since 2015, the CMA Foundation has been a dedicated partner of Harmony Project, committing $50,000 annually in grant support for our music programing. In the spirit of their collaboration on the Songwriters Series, U.S. Bank will be joining CMA in supporting Harmony Project with a $25,000 grant as part of their Community Possible giving platform and Places to Play partnership with the CMA Foundation.

We can’t wait to hear what our students produce and are thrilled to continue growing our ongoing partnerships with the CMA Foundation and U.S. Bank!

Interested in attending?

All Harmony Project students are invited to RSVP to the free Songwriters Workshop by emailing [email protected] or calling (323) 895-7702 for more information.

Tickets for the Songwriters Series concert go on sale Friday, Sept. 21 at 10:00 PM PST at

Harmony Project seniors to receive free virtual college counseling in new ScholarMatch partnership

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Harmony Project is excited to announce a new partnership with ScholarMatch, a free college advising program specializing in volunteer-based, virtual counseling. The goal of the partnership is to equip Harmony Project high school seniors with the tools and mentorship needed to excel in their transition into higher education and beyond.

ScholarMatch supports students nationwide through the college application and admissions process. The pilot program is set to launch this month with 20 Harmony Project seniors, who will each receive free, one-on-one, virtual counseling with a trained College Coach. Once matched with a mentor based on their unique needs, students will have unlimited, on-demand access to contact their personal coach using the technology they already use every day, including text messaging and video chat.

"ScholarMatch is thrilled to partner with the Harmony Project to motivate and inspire high school students in Los Angeles to achieve a college education! We believe that the Harmony Project is doing exceptional work with music education, and we’re honored to provide college access support to leverage the opportunities they’re creating for youth. With this partnership, we’re excited to expand our college access services to Los Angeles to make college dreams a reality for deserving students across California and beyond." - ScholarMatch

In addition to the virtual counseling, ScholarMatch and Harmony Project will collaborate to host five in-depth college workshops for all HP seniors throughout the 2018-19 school year beginning in October. The year of workshops will also feature two additional parent-focused support sessions. Each session will incorporate bilingual facilitation and resources.

In our mission to build a world in which all students - regardless of income, background, or zip code - have equal access to the resources needed to succeed, Harmony Project is eager to embark on this partnership with ScholarMatch. We look forward to expanding the scope of direct support we can connect our students to in achieving their greatest dreams and aspirations!

Hop onto the #HPWelcomeWagon!

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Join the #HPWelcomeWagon! 

Help us welcome new student musicians to Harmony Project and fund their first instrument!

We're kicking off our fall programming with a big welcome to our first-time music students, and we need your help! You can join the Harmony Project Welcome Wagon in 3 ways:

1. Post a #HPWelcomeWagon video 

Wish new Harmony Project students luck on their musical journeys or share 1 piece of advice for beginning musicians in under 1 minute. Post your video to social media using the hashtag #HPWelcomeWagon and tag us! Check out these #HPWelcomeWagon videos:


“My name is ____ and I’m joining Harmony Project’s Welcome Wagon to support new student musicians in LA.”

#HPWelcomeWagon on Instagram:

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2. Make a #HPWelcomeWagon donation

HP Welcome Wagon donations will support instruments for 1st year Harmony Project student musicians. Every contribution makes a difference!

3. Share a #HPWelcomeWagon post

Help us spread the word! We'll be reposting your Welcome Wagon videos now through September 28th. Follow us on social media for updates!

#GiveMusicChangeLives: Newport Festivals Foundation announces $5K donation to Harmony Project on behalf of Lucius

#GiveMusicChangeLives: This week, we are celebrating the gift of music thanks to an impassioned donation on behalf of indie rock band Lucius! Thank you Newport Festivals Foundation for supporting our Leimert Park choir and vocal performance programming!

To celebrate the donation, the Newport Folk Festival released a video of Lucius and new Newport Folk Festival Board of Advisors member Brandi Carlile performing “Dusty Trails” at the 2018 festival.

Lucius also shared some words on their motive to contribute to Harmony Project:

“In our childhood communities, we experienced a lack of emphasis on creativity and arts - be it a lack of funding or just the attention and support necessary to nurture artistic development. On the flip side, we’ve also experienced the relief of knowing what it’s like to find a community who understands the importance of expression. It’s very clear that music education also promotes team building, communication, joy, focus etc.. Having somewhere to let yourself go, and to feel heard as an adolescent is of indescribable value. We are happy and honored to contribute to this mission.”
— Lucius

Read the full press release on the Newport Folk Festival blog.

Our summer in photos 2018

This summer, Harmony Project musicians traveled across Los Angeles and beyond to share music with communities near and far. Check out these highlights from our summer programing!

Mariachi workshops in Hollywood

Leimert Park program breaktime

Violin and guitar workshop at Washington Prep

Harmony Project musicians at Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp


EXPO Banda performance at Levitt Pavilion in McArthur Park

Summer introductory programs across Los Angeles


Regional Youth Orchestra music writing workshops

Sun Valley Summer Symphony in Idaho


Regional Youth Orchestra's improv elective students at a summer concert

Cole and Kaia at the 2018 Jazz Port Townsend in Washington

Enrollment for Fall programming is now open. Learn more here.