Author Archives: Seth Truby

Student Profile: Esmeralda


Her hands move like dancers, seamlessly forming the hand symbols for DO RE MI, the singing language the Rosa Parks Elementary School BRAVO students learn for reading music. The language is called solfége, and Esmeralda started learning it as an eight year old in third grade, in BRAVO’s very first class. With the music already in her head from singing notes in solfége, she translated it into the notes on her violin of Bach, Vivaldi, and many others, although those two composers remain her favorites.

Esmeralda is now a 12 year old 6th grader at George Middle School, and the oldest of three Ramirez sisters in BRAVO. Two sisters play violin, a third plays viola, and the fourth sister, too young to be in the BRAVO after school program, already has her sights set on the cello.

Esmeralda loves playing the violin and wants to become a violinist or a teacher, or maybe a doctor. She is already teaching music to her sisters at home.  She loves learning and feels that practicing music has helped her do better in academics, especially math. She says, “Music is something wonderful in life.”

She also feels that music calms her.  When her active family gets to her, she takes out her violin and plays for herself.

Last summer, Esmeralda was chosen to play at the Young Musicians and Artists (YMA) camp in Salem for a two week period. Never away from home before, she loved it and wants to return.  In the second violin section of the YMA orchestra, Esmeralda got to play a Schumann symphony and many other pieces of classical repertoire. Her YMA teacher relates that while other kids were scribbling down her instructions on their music, Esmeralda simply listened and absorbed it, and was a quiet leader of the class.

Feeling very much a part of the BRAVO community, she occasionally gets to be the concertmaster, sitting in the first chair of the violin section. She was the concertmaster for BRAVO’s recent performance at Governor Kate Brown’s inauguration in Salem.  When asked what it felt like to play for our elected leaders in the Capitol, Esmeralda beamed and said “Awesome!”

Profile by Bonnie Reagan

Feb 25, 4:30pm: BRAVO debut in McMinnville

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown invited two music ensembles to perform at her Inauguration on January 9: BRAVO Youth Orchestras, and the McMinnville High School Symphonic Choir.  What Gov. Brown didn’t know is that these two groups have already started to collaborate on bringing El Sistema music education to McMinnville.  Our joint performance at the Capitol… Continue Reading

Feb 19, 3pm: BRAVO joint concert with the PYP Young String Ensemble

For the second year, BRAVO will share the stage with the musicians of the Portland Youth Philharmonic, America’s first youth orchestra. We’re delighted to invite you to this side-by-side concert with the Young String Ensemble in the stunning setting of the atrium at Wieden + Kennedy’s headquarters in the Pearl District.  Please join us for an afternoon of… Continue Reading

Dec 16, 7pm: BRAVO Community Orchestra PREMIERE concert

  The BRAVO Community Orchestra is a new ensemble created in partnership with the University of Portland that brings together BRAVO youth with college students and community musicians in an intergenerational orchestra. We’re excited to share a fun program of diverse repertoire including: Arabian Dance – the classic holiday favorite from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite a new original… Continue Reading

CANCELLED DUE TO SNOW Dec 15, 11:30am: BRAVO to Multnomah County Commissioners

CANCELLED DUE TO SNOW  In the fourth year of an annual tradition, Multnomah County Commissioner Judy Shiprack has invited students from BRAVO and Metropolitan Youth Symphony to perform at their final 2016 meeting. Featured this year will be a small ensemble from the Rosa Parks Brahms string orchestra. Thursday, Dec 15      11:30am performance… Continue Reading

Dec 10, 7pm: Prelude performance at Gospel Christmas

  BRAVO’s youngest string players, the Rosa Parks Mozarts, make their debut in the lobby of the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall with a Prelude Concert just prior to Gospel Christmas, with the Oregon Symphony. This December trip from North Portland to downtown has become an annual BRAVO tradition, and we’re so grateful to Monica Hayes… Continue Reading

Dec 10, 1:30pm: Prelude performance at A Christmas Carol

  Through our ongoing partnership with Portland Playhouse, BRAVO Cesar Chavez wind students will have the chance to play a prelude performance on the set of A Christmas Carol.  This production breathes new life into the classic tale of a heart opened, complete with ensemble singing and some spooky special effects. Saturday, Dec 10  … Continue Reading

POSTPONED due to SNOW: BRAVO Strings Winter Concert at University of Portland

  Originally scheduled for Dec 8, rescheduled for Dec 15, now postponed until January due to snow closures. BRAVO now serves 125 students in 5 ensembles in our intensive, daily after-school programs at 3 schools in North Portland.  That is too many ensembles to feature in a single Winter Concert, so for the first time this year,… Continue Reading