NJSO Youth Orchestras Spotlight: The Parent Perspective

Feb 27, 2020

NJSO Youth Orchestras Spotlight Presented by M&T Bank

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One of the many special elements of the NJSO Youth Orchestras experience is the strong community of families of the student musicians. Every Saturday, parents mingle with youth orchestra members and coaches, creating a welcoming, family atmosphere.

Go behind the scenes with photos captured by Youth Orchestras parents, and read more about their experiences:

It’s a true enjoyment to be part of the NJSO Youth Orchestras, not just to support the young musicians, but also to enrich our lives as parents. Our kids have learned and benefited so much from this program, not just limited to playing an instrument. The conductors and the NJSO community provide mentorship and inspiration to our children. We’d love to support and give back. After five years with the Youth Orchestras, Valerie is graduating to start a new chapter in her life at college (she has been accepted by Cornell University), but our involvement with NJSO does not stop there. We would love to continue being part of the community through other programs.

Sophie and Lee Chang, NJSO Youth Orchestras parents

Volunteering to organize kids’ bagel station, or cookie distribution at the concerts or reaching out to parents—all these give me immense pleasure and makes me feel part of the NJSO family. Our children work tremendously hard, and it is a wonderful feeling to see them come down for break and head straight for the bagels and juice. These are dedicated, talented and amazing kids, and what can be better than spending Saturday mornings supporting and nurturing them!

Geeta Sundaramoorthy, NJSO Youth Orchestras parent

I feel that being behind the scenes at rehearsal enhanced my experience at the NJSO Youth Orchestras. It gave me a better understanding and respect for the time, hard work and dedication of both the coaches and students. Being behind the scenes, it is great to see the progression of it all coming together from the beginning up to the concert. It is an overall amazing experience!

Dave and Tara Reilly, NJSO Youth Orchestras parents

Music means so much to me. Classical music more so. Growing up in Czechoslovakia, we were provided with a strong curriculum in classical music education, but more along the lines of appreciating music, learning about the composers, their compositions, going to listen to the symphony and listening to the great classics (not just Czech composers—all European composers).

Unfortunately, that education did not include musical instruments. Learning to play an instrument was still a private education, which was expensive and the instruments were more so; they were made by professional artisans, by hand, and out of reach of the many. I didn't think our family might be able to afford it, and thus I never asked and the opportunity was never given to me.

Seeing that my children have the opportunity to learn and seeing that we had the opportunity to provide some private lessons for both of them, my dream of feeling closer to the music I love and I grew up with feels a little closer. That little girl in Czechoslovakia feels much happier.

The opportunity for both of our children to join the NJSO and for us to be part of it, in whatever little way as involved parents, also gets me closer to my childhood dreams of playing a musical instrument, if only vicariously through our children.

I am very grateful for this opportunity for them. I am very happy also to be able to participate and help. Being a small part, behind the scenes, as it were, of this family and our efforts to give our children such a great experience ... it's priceless.

I thank everyone at the NJSO leadership and the patrons of the organization for providing this opportunity for our children. I wish I had had such an opportunity as a child, but I'm happy that our children can have it and are able to take advantage of it.

Dana Valencia, NJSO Youth Orchestras parent

As a parent, seeing either of my children thrive gives me an immense feeling of pride and satisfaction. Seeing them break new ground on areas that are beyond the areas afforded to me when I was a child (be it computers, flying, music), is even more thrilling. More so when I see that my children, who can not well relate to children their age group, but relate extremely well with grown-ups, are now able to grow their own friendships with fellow musicians. More so when I find out that most of them have the same dreams and goals and likes/dislikes as our children. They want to be engineers, astrophysicists, scientists ... and musicians all along. The challenges of practice sessions (patience, perseverance, determination) help build their character (as much as try the limits of our sanity).

As a behind-the-scenes parent, I try, in as much as I may, to help provide a familial environment for the kids: letting them see the parents behind them, providing a snack, a drink, cookies during concerts, a good cheer and well wishing before they enter the stage. I am grateful for the opportunities that the NJSO Youth Orchestras provide to all of our children, and the chance for us to see our children broaden their minds.

Alexis Valencia, NJSO Youth Orchestras parent

» Learn more about the NJSO Youth Orchestras