BAY AREA (KRON) — Thirteen-year-old Ryan Pham is one of 60 talented kids, ages 10 to 18 with amazing musical skills nurtured by a Bay Area non-profit called the Young Musicians Choral Orchestra.
YMCO provides everything for free and all 60 kids are trained in classical, jazz, vocal and instrumental in group training and one-on-one tutors.
Kids who don’t have access to the musical instruments are loaned them.
The program also give kids academic and college admissions support and more — a package worth about $12,000 per child.
It all comes together because of the generous driving spirit, and determination of a petite powerhouse named Daisy Newman.
“I believe if you put a instrument in the hands of every 6-year-old child, when they hit 13 and 14, there’s no room for a needle or a gun. It’s amazing the magical effect of an instrument and a child,” she said.
Newman spent 20 years as a professional opera singer and plays five instruments herself.
Her heart is filled with helping talented kids, but her program is about much more than music.
She leads with what she calls her ‘power triangle.’
“I recruited kids who wanted to go to college, who were low income but had a college dream,” she said.
“YMCO’s community really helps,” said one student. “It help me learn music better and it helps me learn citizenship.”
Ryan is in YMCO’s 4.0 club.
The kids who get all A’s get special experiences, so he knows excellence in academics and his music are essential.
Ryan is the second in his family to go through the program.
His big sister Evelyn wound up at college in Boston with the help of YMCO.
These families know a one hour, private music lesson can cost upwards of $125 and their appreciation to YMCO flows.
Daisy stresses harmony, not just in the music but as part of her citizenship training.
“We have 13 ethnic groups in this program right now and we all get along,” Newman said. “I don’t have race baiting, name calling — none of that.”
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