GINA’S MESSAGE

"Music was a big part of my life growing up. My parents sang in church and dad played the guitar. They were renting a piano by the month from a local music store for my brother to practice his piano lessons. I was a four-year old little girl obsessed with the color pink, and most likely, ballerina tutus are what inspired my dream to be a ballerina when I grew up. Mom and Dad tell me that I climbed up on the piano bench one day after school and was trying to figure out the melody of songs I had sang in class that day. Realizing that I might be the child who would take to the piano, they signed me up for beginning lessons. I remember my tired mom would drive me to lessons and take a nap in the car, while I was inside at my lesson. I still remember my teacher made lasagna a lot, and her apartment smelled so good. Funny the things kids remember.

As a quiet child, I took to the piano and instantly it became my "best friend". We were inseparable. I never was any good at learning to read music, which to this day, I feel has been a disadvantage, especially when I would love to play along with other musicians or accompany a singer. But I do play by ear, and after becoming familiar with a song, I can usually play my own version of it. So I really consider I play the piano by heart, as well as by ear.

So there were two reasons why I learned to play the piano; ENCOURAGEMENT & A PIANO. I would have never played the piano had it not been for the love of music instilled by my parents. It was also because of generosity of Jerry Venturi, owner of Venturi's House of Music to rent a piano at a price my parents could afford. I can't even imagine what my life would be like without my music; the place I go to play out every emotion, every dream, every disappointment, every wish. The music has been my solace and my strength. I know I'm not alone in this.. most artists, whether they use music, dance or paint to mirror their soul. We rely on our art at the deepest level of importance. It is WHO we become, not WHAT we do.

I want to inspire young people to develop their talents, whatever they may be. I love meeting young people who aspire to learn an instrument, and I want to help them reach their goal.

I'm partnering with my local piano store, Steinway Gallery of Fresno to create a scholarship fund for a student to receive a year's worth of piano lessons from one of their gifted teachers. The owner, Heyner Oviedo and his brother, Hans are making this possible because they believe in the power of music.

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To nominate a student and/or apply for a scholarship, please send your story using the form below.

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