My story starts in Costa Rica, where I have navigated the teeth rattling, unpaved roads to the remote Escuela de Música Cóbano SiNEM to volunteer for the inspiring music director Jorge Siliezar and his passionate young students. The 22 SiNEM music schools, like its Venezuelan counterpart, El Sistema, are non-profit, after school musical education programs funded in part by the government and private donors. Its main emphasis is to give local youth the ability to play an instrument and to join a supportive, welcoming musical family.
Music+connect is a direct result of my volunteer experiences in Costa Rica. I learned so much from being part of the Escuela de Música Cóbano. I saw how one music director, Jorge Siliezar, brought together an entire village through music. I saw how older students spent their after school hours teaching the younger students. I knew that as the younger students grew up, they would “play it forward” and pass their knowledge on to the next generation. The Cóbano students helped me realize how fortunate I was to grow up with the musically-rich opportunities of Irvine, CA. Through music+connect I want to give back to my local community and my Cóbano community. Pura Vida!