Natalia Reyes is a 12-year-old student at Renzulli Academy in Hartford, Connecticut. She has been a Youth Arts student for four years and continues to attend the program two nights a week. Natalia is passionate about music, loves to sing, and laugh with her friends.
Natalia has played the violin for three years. "When I was four or five, I had a toy violin, and ever since, I wanted to play the violin professionally," Natalia explained. She plays the clarinet as well. "I always wanted to be a part of a band. And to get into Funky Dawgz, I had to play a brass instrument." Today, Natalia plays both instruments at Renzulli Academy and Charter Oak Cultural Center through Funky Dawgz and the Hartford All-City Youth Orchestra.
In addition to playing in orchestra and band, Natalia practices both instruments for 30-minutes every day. "I use my left hand a lot," Natalia explained as she presented her red index finger. "I don't mind; I pick at my fingers anyway."
Natalia has made so many memories around music. Her favorite memory so far was during orchestra practice at school. "One time, I dropped my violin. I asked my friend to grab my violin while it was slipping, but she didn't hear me", Natalia explained. "When the violin hit the floor, my chin rest came off. My teacher began to panic, trying to stop me from crying. She glued it back on so that my mom didn't have to pay for it. I never told my mom." Natalia looks back on this memory and can't help but laugh at how much she cried and how quickly her teacher and friend came to the rescue.
Natalia's favorite piece to play is Bandology by Eric Osterling. "It sounds cool with everyone," she explained. "Sometimes in my band at school, you only hear the clarinets, but it's fun." Eric Osterling's grandson is coming to an upcoming concert at Natalia's school. Natalia says that she's not nervous. "I'm not going to be able to tell who he is anyway," she explained.
When Natalia is not playing one of her instruments, she is singing. Natalia one day hopes to join Vocal Ensemble at Charter Oak but is nervous about singing in public. "I'm scared of showing my voice to people," Natalia explained, "I haven't in a long time."
For a career, Natalia hopes to become a veterinarian for large animals. "I love cows and horses. I think they're so cool." Last year Natalia had the chance to interact with them at a zoo, "one of the cows licked me!” While her focus will be on large breed animals, Natalia has a soft spot for bunnies and says she will always make time to take care of them.