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Within the Kidznotes community, cellist Marcus Gee, a 16-year-old rising senior at Hillside New Tech High School, has become an inspiring example of the opportunities that abound for students and families committed to Kidznotes programming. Marcus will be performing alongside the LA Philharmonic in Edinburgh, Scotland as one of eighteen young musicians nationwide selected to participate in the YOLA National Institute July 28-August 5, 2019.
Having the opportunity to play music opens up many doors,” says Marcus. “When people see kids picking up their instruments to play music, it gives them hope that there is something positive in the world.”
The opportunity is extra special for Marcus because he is a member of the Institute’s inaugural class. The YOLA National Institute provides a select group of musicians participating in the 2019 YOLA National Festival enhanced training and performance opportunities throughout the 2019-2020 academic year.
This year will be Marcus’ third year traveling to Los Angeles, CA to participate in the YOLA National Festival. Two other Kidznotes musicians, Kiarra Truitt-Martin, selected for the National Festival Symphony Orchestra, and Felicia Adizue, selected for the Chamber Orchestra, will also attend.
The experience provides young musicians from El Sistema programs around the country an intensive orchestral music training and performance experience with world-renowned musicians at no expense to the musicians. El-Sistema is an international movement of music for social change that originated in Venezuela in the 1970s.
Not only is Marcus an inaugural fellow of the YOLA Institute, he was one of the first students to enroll when Kidznotes opened in 2010. The graduation of the remaining nine members of his class in the 2020-2021 school year will mark the first class of graduates to fully matriculate through the program.
Kidznotes’ mission is to change lives through music,” says Kidznotes Executive Director Nick Malinowski. “Marcus Gee, through hard work, dedication and support from the Kidznotes family, is living proof of the power of our mission. He and his fellow musicians are an inspiration to me, to their families and to our entire community.”