Tell Me A Story: David
Age: 10
Program: Paterson Music Project
Years in Program: 3
Instrument: Viola
Fun Fact: David loves football! Each time he plays, he gets at least one touchdown and tackle.

A violist in the Paterson Music Project for the past three years, David is not shy about his skills as a musician. When asked what he thinks his own personal hashtag is, he confidently replied, “#imthebestviolaever.” David also made certain to detail his abilities as an athlete. “I’m a football player with a pro throw and catch,” David swelled, “each time I play I get at least one touchdown and tackle!” He is also proud of the work he has put in practicing viola. “My favorite memory is honors orchestra… because it was an honor for our parents to come and see us and see how many years we’ve been staying and playing.” He furthered, “Now they can see that we’re advanced!”

Tell Me A Story: Isabella
Age: 14
Program: New Jersey Youth Symphony
Years in Program: 2
Instrument: Flute & Piccolo

Isabella, 14, has been playing the flute for the past six years, two of them being with the New Jersey Youth Symphony. Having been in Junior Wind Ensemble and Flute Choir, Isabella is excited to be in Flute Choir again this year and continue playing the piccolo when needed. Isabella, the only musician in her family, does have one goal in mind when it comes to playing in NJYS. “I want to be in YS (Youth Symphony) when I’m a senior,” Isabella said about the organization’s highest orchestra.  When asked how she heard about NJYS, Isabella chuckled, “my doctor told me about NJYS. She knew that I liked to play the flute and suggested I join. I’m glad that I did!” Now that she has been in the organization for two years, Isabella is grateful for the experiences she has had and the friends she has made. When explaining her favorite memory with NJYS, a gift exchange game she played with Flute Choir during the holidays, Isabella clarified, “it was in that one moment I realized that I really found some great friends.”

Tell Me A Story: Arleth & Aaron
Ages: 8 & 9
Program: Paterson Music Program
Years in Program: 1 & 2
Instruments: Viola

Siblings Aaron (9) and Arleth (8) are two very cute peas in a pod. Often found laughing and joking with one another, Aaron and Arleth are both bright, talented young violists with the Paterson Music Project. Aaron, in the program for two years, excelled so quickly that he was able to skip a level entirely, while Arleth’s teachers call her a “rhythm master.” Aaron recalls why he wanted to join. “I was thinking I should join,” Aaron explained, “because I wanted to learn how to play instruments and I also saw the drums.” Arleth, finishing her first year, recounted a similar experience. “I saw people playing instruments,” she said, “and I thought I wanted to play.” Now that they have had the chance to play an instrument, Aaron explains, “playing music makes me feel astounded and amazed.” Arleth concurred, “Playing music makes me feel happy.” Aaron is not so shy about his musical ambitions. Currently attending Saturday program with PMP, which he described as “perfect,” Aaron hopes to be in the Paterson Youth Orchestra, playing with young musicians from across the city someday soon.

Tell Me A Story: Molly
Age: 11
Program: Performing Arts School
Instruments: Piano, Violin

11-year-old Molly has been playing music for nearly half her life. Now a 6th-grader, she started taking violin and piano lessons when she was in kindergarten and has progressed to playing in the Junior Strings ensemble at the New Jersey Youth Symphony. Not surprisingly, Molly comes from a musical family. Both her older sister Emily and her younger sister Laura play piano, and her mom plays piano and organ. One of Molly’s favorite things about playing music: “When the performance is over, and people are clapping, I feel like I’ll never stop smiling!”

Tell Me A Story: Akeira and Rihanna
Age: 10
Years in Program: 1
Instrument: Violin

Fun fact: Dream school is Harvard University and says, “Playing music makes me feel talented.”

Age: 10
Years in Program: 4
Instrument: Violin

Fun fact: “We get to perform in a lot of places like Carnegie Hall, at schools, and at the museum.”

Brothers and sisters are not the only pairings in the Paterson Music Project! Rihanna and Akeira, both 10-year-old violinists with PMP, are best friends that happen to be cousins!  Akeira, looking back on why she wanted to join PMP, recalls, “I always wanted to play an instrument and now I love playing my violin more than a billion!” Rihanna, now a part of PMP for the past 4 years, felt the same way. “I joined because I wanted to know how to hold and play an instrument. Now I really enjoy playing music.” Rihanna and Akeira both volunteer their time to mentor younger violin students in the program. They also dream about becoming professional violinists who travel the world. Having performed at local schools, the Paterson Museum, and even Carnegie Hall, it is clear that they are well on their way already!