Tae Ortiz — now a high school junior, and CMW’s administrative intern — has been a CMW participant since the first days of the program. Here, Tae reminisces about how she discovered CMW, and her first impressions of Sebastian and Minna.
— Chloe (blog caretaker)
"I clearly remember the first day I met Sebastian Ruth and Minna Choi. They were young, a little inexperienced, but still looked like they loved what they were doing. I was in the fourth grade and attending Reservoir Avenue Elementary School with current Community Musicworks cello student, Viviana Diaz.
"I was the new girl at that elementary school and had just got out of another school with a very poor music program. Before I transferred to Reservoir Avenue, I was at Camden Avenue Elementary School. I started playing the violin in the third grade at Camden, known as Harry Kizarian today. I transferred to Reservoir Avenue elementary school wanting to continue playing the violin, but I never thought that I would ever have that chance again.
"My mom had a new job and we had just moved right off of Reservoir Avenue. My parents needed a babysitter for my brother and I, and right away I remembered that Viviana was talking to me about an after school program at the West End Community Center. About how fun and free it was, but I looked at her and thought that I wanted to do something fun in my spare time. Not just run around with some snotty girls, in a crayola-box-smelling room and have about 150 kids screaming everywhere! It was my mom’s only choice, so I ended up going.
"One day after school ended, the program van picked me and some other kids up in front of the school to go back to the West End. As soon as I got there, Mr. Goode, the program director made an announcement to any kids who were interested in playing a musical instrument to please join where Minna and Sebastian were standing. I thought about it twice and slowly moved a little closer to the group until I was sitting in the group with the other kids on the floor. Viviana was playing with something, but I saw she was very interested in the instruments also.
"I watched Sebastian explain to us what the violin was and every single detail about it. From the scroll down to the button next to the chin rest, I was amazed about how much I didn’t know about the violin even after I’ve played it at Camden. Right away I knew I had to get in, and it was all down hill from there. Of course after going into middle school, I felt like quitting at times and letting everything go, but then I realized it was just a phase most people go through.
"To this day I still thank Viviana Diaz for being my friend and telling me about the West End, which brought me to the Community Musicworks family. So much thanks to Viviana Diaz because if it wasn’t for her, who knows what I would be doing!"