CCSP Students Receive Carnegie Hall Preview

CCSP Students Receive Carnegie Hall Preview
Posted on 10/11/2016
Simon Bolivar Symphony

October 7, 2016, 11:16 AM

Last updated: Friday, October 7, 2016, 11:19 AM

Members of acclaimed Simon Bolivar symphony give Paterson students a Carnegie Hall preview

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Members of the Simon Bolivar orchestra with children from the Community Charter School of Paterson.


Paterson Press

PATERSON – Eleven-year old Ajaylah Wright of Paterson sat mesmerized as she watched world class musicians perfect the sound she has come to love. 

The aspiring violin player was among a group of students and parents from the Community Charter School of Paterson who attended a special performance on Wednesday by five members of the acclaimed Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela.

This was amazing because I got to see people who play instruments like me,” said Ajaylah, a sixth grader who plays the violin in her school orchestra.

The symphony members performed at the charter school on the night before they would play at the opening night gala at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. The Paterson show was arranged through Zamira Briceno, a music teacher at the charter school, who knows one of the Simon Bolivar violinists from her home country of Venezuela.

We are pleased that you are interested in hearing us play,” said 27-year-old Luis Navarro, a violinist in the symphony orchestra, speaking with the aid of a Spanish translator.  “We are happy about what you are doing in music at your school.” 

The quintet that performed at the charter school played the violin, viola, cello, and contrabass. Navarro was clad informally in jeans, a stocking cap, and a Guns N’ Roses t-shirt. He and the rest of the orchestra had traveled from Venezuela to the New York area on Tuesday.

In addition to Thursday’s opening night at Carnegie Hall, the orchestra also was scheduled to play at the iconic Manhattan venue on Friday and Saturday.

The five musicians Simon Bolivar members - Navarro, Ana Virginia Gonzales, Fabiana Alvarez, Monica Frias, and Nathaly Algindi - said they had performed at the prestigious concert hall four other times.

The Simon Bolivar symphony is a product of the renowned El Sistema music education program in Venezuela, which happens to be the inspiration for the Paterson Music Project orchestra, which is sponsored by the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts. 

The program now includes 250 students in grades 1 through 8 at three Paterson locations, according to Shanna Lin, associate program director for the Paterson Music Project. 

Music Project participants Nikayla and Nikole Guzman were at the Simon Bolivar performance.

I came tonight because I wanted to hear my teacher’s friends play,” said nine-year old Nikayla said.  “Today I already practiced.  We had orchestra practice and then I practiced on my own.” 

Her sister recalled their own performance a while back at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark for an audience of hundreds of people. “I was in the front row,” Nikole said. “I was kind of nervous but it went well.” 

The sisters agreed that someday they would like to travel the world and play music. 

After the Simon Bolivar musicians’ performance, they answered questioned from the students. One question asked Algindi about the different ways she played the contrabass.

I play with my bow which was made in Germany,” Algindi replied.  “I also pluck the strings with my fingers, which is called pizzicato.”   

Another student asked about the different countries in which the orchestra had played. The symphony members responded with a list that included Greece, Germany, France, Columbia, England, China, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan, and Brazil.  The musicians said they tour the world three times yearly.  The rest of their time is spent practicing for concerts and performing in Venezuela. 

Young Ajaylah Wright found the evening inspiring. “I want to continue practicing the violin and playing in my school orchestra and lessons more than ever after tonight,” she said.