"To play and to fight,
a great motto for a great orchestra"
So read the headline of an article about the National Youth Orchestra in the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional from February 2, 1976. To Play and to Fight is the guiding maxim of the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras of Venezuela. It reflects the firmness of purpose and perseverance which has always characterized the conduct of its members and has made of El Sistema the most important orchestral and social program in Venezuela of the last decades.
For El Sistema’s musicians, To Play and to Fight means undertaking music as a collective experience which also involves individual effort; it entails a relentless pursuit of excellence and, above all, it means persevering until dreams become reality.>
In 2005, the Venezuelan filmmaker Alberto Arvelo, who studied at one of El Sistema’s núcleos as a child, produced a documentary film that captures the spirit and essence of the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras of Venezuela. This awards-winning film was named after El Sistema’s motto: To Play and To Fight.