The Sound Of Music

<B>Morley Safer</B> Talks To New York Students Who Pursued Their Dreams At Juilliard

The sound of music can be heard day and night on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. If you walk past Lincoln Center, you'll hear it coming from the northwest corner, from the Juilliard School of Music, just about the most demanding conservatory in the world.

It's the place that produced Itzhak Perlman, Renee Fleming, and Wynton Marsalis. It's also produced some artists you may not have heard of: Shawn Coleman, Suzanne Morello and Carlos Henriquez.

When Correspondent Morley Safer first met these students back in 1994, they were among 40 New York public high school students – trailblazers, really, - who helped change the face of Juilliard.

Before we tell you where they ended up, take a look first at where they started.
Juilliard's Music Advancement Program, MAP for short, began in 1991. Suzanne Morello, Rosie Mora, Harold Banarsee, Carlos Henriquez and Shawn Coleman were among the first to be accepted.

Their journey to Juilliard began when they were just 12 years old. Back then, music programs in the New York City public schools had been cut to the bone. In many schools, there was no music at all.

Juilliard was concerned about diversity. Seventy percent of its students came from Asian descent. And it found that other New York minority students could not pass the stringent entrance requirements or afford the tuition. The answer: to go looking for students with that certain spark. For them, Juilliard would be free.

Shawn Coleman was a seventh grader with a clarinet who really wanted to be an astronaut. "I hated the clarinet, and I was really bad, too," recalls Coleman.

Soon enough, he and his dreams came down to earth. "I see musicians walking with their cases proudly, with 'I am a musician,'" says Coleman. "So, you know, that's what I want to be. I want to be a musician, too."

So did Carlos Henriquez, who came Juilliard from a tough neighborhood in the South Bronx. He started on the classical guitar, and then switched to the bass. He says that music was a ticket to fame: "That's what I want, fame. Help others, and see what I can get out of music."

Harold Banarsee plays the trumpet, and his hero is Wynton Marsalis. "When I started coming to Juilliard, people used to call me show-off and they were jealous and all that stuff," says Banarsee.

What does he think about when he hears Marsalis playing? "I think if I practice, I could be just as good as him or any other trumpet player," says Banarsee.

But when he said that, he had no idea that he'd been chosen to take a master class taught by Marsalis.

A 100 Saturdays at Juilliard made an enormous difference in the way they sounded. It also changed their thinking.

How important is music in their life?

"It's very important. It's my life. It's my future," says student Rosie Mora.

The students Safer talked to all want a career in music. But how many make it to the top? And where will they be 10 years from now?

"Philharmonic and chamber music," says Coleman.

"I'd like to play with the Boston Symphony," says Morello.

"I see myself as a celebrity. My band's out there playing, CDs cassettes. And if it doesn't work out, teach at Juilliard," says Banarsee. "I think everyone here is going to make it to the top."

"I can't say I'm going to make it…well, something inside says that I'm going to make it. I can make it," says Henriquez.

A little more than a decade after that conversation, Henriquez is now the bass player with Marsalis' band. It began just two years after he finished Juilliard, when he was 17. "I love that gig," he says. "Yeah, 17 when I first started playing with him. It was a fundraiser in Orlando, Fla. I was scared, didn't know what was going on."
  • Rebecca Leung

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