"7-yr olds who become 17-yr olds"

Meet Senzel Ahmady | Performing with Solano Symphony Orchestra

Sunday February 9 @ 3:00 pm, Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre

With big brown eyes and an even bigger smile, seven-year-old little Senzal, is surrounded by other chorus-mates on a linoleum stage at Nelda Mundy Elementary School. The show-choir group sings and dances for a sea of cell phones and video cameras proudly focused on the girls and boys performing popular tunes under the fluorescent stage-lights. Young Senzal performs with a joy and fervor that feels beyond her seven years. Taking the microphone, she steps forward and sings her first public solo.

It’s 2010 and recession torn school budgets have ripped into into the fabric of arts at school once again. This time, it’s not the usual reduction in course frequency. In Fairfield, it’s a hard stop. The band instruments are locked away and the music rooms are re-purposed. Over fifteen-thousand Fairfield children born at the turn of the century will not have the opportunity to discover their interest or aptitude for the arts at school. If nothing is done, these fifteen-thousand children in Fairfield will never experience the comprehensive developmental impact that comes from from learning music.

Today, Senzal Ahmady is a 17-year old vocalist who has won 1st place in the Salute to Youth Competition by Solano Symphony Orchestra. A rising classical soprano, Ms. Ahmandy has been training at Young Artists Conservatory of Music (YACM) since she first discovered her interest and aptitude at an on-campus, after-school music education program 10 years ago.

In 2010, the PTA President, Lisa Watson, knew that the loss of music on campus was not an option for the children at Nelda Mundy. Lisa asked YACM for a solution. YACM launched its first Music Matters at School program in the fall of 2010. That first year, over 100 children enrolled in after-school band, guitar, show-choir and violin, including little Senzal Ahmady.

“If it wasn’t for YACM and the Music Matters program at school, I don’t think Senzal would have ever recognized her potential”, says Senzal’s mother Hazel Ahmady. “I can’t even imagine our lives without what music has done for my family”.

Senzal Ahmady will perform “Trees on the Mountain” from Suzannah by Carlisle Floyd and “Je dis que rien ne m'epouvante” from Carmen by Bizet, this Sunday, February 9 at the Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre. Made possible by a grant from the Margaret Beelard Foundation, Senzal will be accompanied by the Solano Symphony Orchestra conducted by Maestro Semyon Lohss. “Her grace and poise just beams from the stage. This young lady captures your attention and doesn’t let go”, comments Wanda Cook, Director of YACM.

Senzal Ahmady has earned recognition by YACM as a 2019-20 Featured Soloist-Classical Division. She is preparing to perform at the the Black Tie Gala Concert (a YACM event) on June 7th at the Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre. Senzal was recently cast in the role of Maria for Solano Youth Theatre’s (a division of YACM) production of West Side Story scheduled to show on May 8 -9 at the Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre. She is also a member of FUSE A Cappella Chorus and will be traveling to Southern California for and ICHSA A Cappella Competition later this month.

Ms. Ahmady studies voice with YACM Teaching Artist Edward Halbach and piano with Wanda Cook, founder and Artistic Director of YACM. Halbach when listening to a rehearsal, “She’s so exciting to instruct!”. Ahmady is currently undergoing several auditions for college music programs throughout the country, including NYU.

“Studying music, I mean really learning how to read the music, learn the languages, and master one’s body is challenging”, says Senzal. “It takes years, a life-time. I’m only now beginning to explore what my voice can really do, but without starting so young, I know I’d not be here now.”

Artistic Director and founder, Wanda Cook,

“Thinking about the significance of the arts, there is a difference between entertainment and the arts. Entertainment aims to distract us from what is hard about life. The Arts, however, give meaning to that which is hard about life. Like Senzel, the children of Solano County, now more than ever, need to have experiences that define their purpose, meaning, and potential. The arts, early in life, can not be ignored as a significant force for well-being in our young people. That’s why Young Artists Conservatory of Music exists, because 7-year-olds who become 17-year olds like Senzel matter. Because Music Matters.

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